Archives for category: Abuse

Before I begin, I have to tell you I am sick of resetting my password every time I sighn in. I want a cigarette. A mcfonals burger (u no hu I mean). And I want to get laid: well and often. I don’t think these are unreasonable requests, only 2 of the 3 will kill me, the third being mildly perilous. Well, the third is probably more likely to kill me presently but this is a wish list, shut up.

Having made a cross declaration to several people that I felt trapped by my inability to sculpt, someone said you can always use free things. Did I want to stab that person in the head? Yes, I did. Mindfulness, be damned. So and so uses cardboard, they’ve made some amazing things… blah blah kill me.

I want what I want, and for a change I’m going to get it. A friend has offered to be my patron. Imagine. A proper patron. It’s not enough to earn a living kind of patron, but it is a life saving and life affirming door opening kind of patron. I will be making ceramics very soon.

I’m still fighting the fight with the meds and sleep, but I have slept. Can you tell? I re-read some of my old prose and its really bloody good. Shame my recent stuff is very much me circa 1994. Painful. I’m bored of this bit already. Let’s move on.

I decided to accept a place on an assertiveness course. So far I have learned that you can ask for things and you will be given them. No, really. I needed help with travel, I got it. I told them I couldn’t eat their biscuits they bought me gluten free ones. This has been a week or two of receiving. How pleasant.

The assertiveness course… I’m. I’m. I’m.

Look. Things need to change in women’s services.

Women need to be stopped being asked to prevent their own abuse.

Seriously.

Just stop it.

And this notion that a ‘bad man’ is always a ‘bad man’ needs to change too. We need to be taught how to spot these bastards before we go to bed with them. That’s the problem isn’t it. They come with hearts and flowers and smiles first.

Apparently, assertive people talk with a warm voice. I told her I had issue with that. She was a bit surprised. Half the reason why myself and my class mates are in the mess we are in is because of our warm words and forgiving natures. We are saps. ill equipped to deal with the more predatory of our species.

We are here to get help to route them out before they bleed us dry. The bosses, friends, boyfriends, parents: whom ever chooses to leech off us… And we won’t learn how to do that with your Disney villain caricatures. We are no princesses, there are no knights, there is no justice. Just us and a packet of biscuits, gluten free or otherwise.

As I sink into yet another abyss, I reach out to support agencies for help. I hear the same refrain again and again. “Step back”, “Be kind to yourself”, “Take it easy”, “You’ve been through more in 5 years than some have in decades, don’t put so much pressure on yourself”. This is victim blaming. It’s not often I identify as a victim. But I feel it so keenly at the moment.

The pressure is not coming from within me: it is external to me and is being exerted on many thousands of people. Some of whom have buckled under the weight and have taken their own lives.

I have been close.

I am close.

I am tired.

As a person being forced to look for work that she is not well enough to do, I am being persecuted by the state. Why? Because I am poor. I can not afford to recuperate with out state assistance. As I try and address the mess that led to this disaster, I have to search for work, under the threat of losing what little money I have. This is tantamount to financial abuse.

I have worked. I have worked hard. I have paid taxes. I have raised myself up, from my externally perceived humble beginnings, educated myself, and the reward for my self sufficiency is victim blaming and abuse. Even in my addled state, I can provide better support for myself, than the agencies that I have reached out to for assistance.

Even, as the pressure mounts, and my myriad low level illnesses conspire together to create the impression that I am going to die from anxiety, I am best placed to help my self. All I need is time, or money, or a little of both. Instead, what time I might have is being permanently diverted to other less deserving things. Or more deserving but ought not to be.

Such as : Have I enough food to eat; Can I cover my rent this month; Is buying this cheap food worth the resulting pain I will end up in; Am I going to pull another muscle if I walk to the doctors and back; Will I sleep tonight; Can I squeeze another few wears out of these jeans before they finally give in.

What absolutely makes me howl, is the fact that a woman of my age, and my size being actively discriminated against in the work place, in one of the most underprivileged cities in the UK is being forced to look for work for people who will not employ her. Take my ‘free to them’ labour, yes, but not employ me for remuneration.

Where exactly am I supposed to take refuge in this mess? Am I being mindful they ask. Are you fucking kidding me? I am nothing but mindful. ‘You’ tell me? You keep telling me about how self aware I am… AM I MINDFUL? I am too mindful. I am too keenly aware of what is happening to me, and completely unable to do anything about it. This way madness lies.

Sometimes, mindfulness, in your secular sense of the word is a middle class luxury. It is a kind of mindfulness that I can not afford.

And the patronizing! Dear god above have some small mercy on me. Someone praised me learning to make my own clothes. This, I am told, is mindful. Well, it may be, if I could actually get on. Only I’m so sleep deprived that I can not follow the instructions and I dare not use the machine for fear of stitching over my fingers.

I got flashed, people, that’s what happened. I had to hit that man to get him to leave me alone (he started to follow me). I told him I was going to hit him, and then I popped him, twice. My wrist was sore for weeks. When I asked you who the Boss was a few posts back, I meant my answer, I’m the freakin Boss.

I have to clear a few things up… It wasn’t my stepfather that stopped the counselling it was my mother. My mother went out of her way to make my 40th Birthday a bit of an extravaganza. I start the writing course in two weeks, and I am going to resurrect my book. I’m volunteering for two projects and I’m applying for a writing internship, a paid one! I am learning to make my own clothes.

After living in dire straights for so long a little money goes a long way. So when I nervously asked for money for my birthday, I was very pleased to find myself the proud owner of £300. I bought a lot of material and I fished out my Nan’s sewing machine. I am halfway through making my first pair of trousers.

I also bought three pairs of shoes from Blend. I spent my 30th sailing the fjords of Norway and traveling through the mountains, during that time I bought some trainers. I took a pair in every colour they had: green, blue, red, orange… Something made me look them up this year (nostalgia) and there they were. Now, thanks to the wonder of having friends in foreign places and an internet connection I am proud owner of said trainers. £50 for the lot. Thank you, very much.

I was treated to a weekend away by my mum. We did nothing but eat and drink for three days. We even managed not to descend into complete anarchy. Which is somewhat shocking since we were both drinking. I decided to give up for a few days trying to avoid ‘drunk mother’. Amazingly, my new counsellor ain’t that bad, and I’ve moved from a place of anger to real forgiveness. Not the sticking plaster kind, but a lasting forgiveness. I’m glad because anger is exhausting. So is drinking, I don’t know how people find the stamina to become addicted…

Whilst I was preparing for this writing course, I went through my books and found ‘the book’. I couldn’t put it down, even I want to know how it turns out! It’s also given me the confidence to apply for an internship as a writer. I do not publicise this blog not just because I want to maintain my anonymity, but because I fear my own writing. I worry about my consistency, I worry about my pitch and I am terrified of my grammar. I might not if I renamed the blog “Fuck off, I am Dyslexic” but I’m trying to work on my amiability.

I had a few interviews, which after years of having none is a bloody relief, and while volunteering is not ideal it does give me something to concentrate on. Both projects are in areas that I feel particularly challenged so I am hoping to get as much out as I put in this time. My waistline is also thanking me. I signed up to OKSTUPID again. I don’t know why I bother because most of them scare me, but it’s something to do to relieve the ongoing tragicomic monotony that is my life post recession.

My orchids bloomed. I stopped smoking. And I got thanked for being a feminist!

The doctors want to charge me £25 for their evidence, the reason being the work is private not NHS. The DWP could access the information they want for free, but the onus is on me to provide information they already have access to. I know a song about this: I’ve heard it before.

Similarly, I have heard the song I’m about to detail. Let’s do it Tickertapemind style.

  • There’s a knock on the door. I open it.
  • My neighbor from downstairs thrusts a piece of paper in my hand: “Do you know anything about this?”.
  • I scan the paper, shake my head and try to give it back.
  • He refuses to take it.
  • I ask him if he will take the paper from my hand.
  • His face contorts and he tells me to hang on a minute (preparing some kind of speech).
  • I throw the paper to the ground and tell him I won’t tolerate him coming to my door like this.
  • He stands outside my now closed door and verbally abuses me, “Fucking bitch” etc.
  • I tell my friend, who I happened to be on the phone with, “I have to go”.
  • I open the door and tell the man not to knock on my door again, ever. He thinks this is his opportunity to continue his tirade. I shout pointedly, “No. You listen to me: do not ever come to my door again”.
  • I come inside and call the police. While on the phone the police tell me my friend is also on the line.
  • An hour later an officer visits. At the end of their information gathering session, he tells me “not to rise to it”.
  • The officer knocks on the neighbour’s door; he does not answer.

Apparently, I am responsible for my neighbour’s behaviour. How about fuck off. How about not only is it understandable that I shout at this man, but it is an acceptable means of asserting a boundary invasion. How about, the man not come to my door at all. Since he lives on the floor below he has come out of his way to thrust paper at me.

How about, it doesn’t matter if I did or didn’t make a noise pollution complaint. How about, it’s not appropriate to ask me what he does for a living. Or question me about his day to day movements. Or ask me any question that would be better answered by the man who so rudely interrupted my telephone call.

How about people stop and think about why it is they believe his behaviour is somehow precipitated by mine. He had a number of choices to make and he chose to lose his temper and accuse and verbally abuse me. How about, he takes responsibility for his own actions, and does what ever he has been asked to do with out complaint. How about he stop projecting bullshit at me.

How about people stop victim blaming women.

I have the right to feel safe at home.

I got a text from my bank saying I was over-drawn and had an hour to put some money in. Fortunately, I had some change in a jar. I paid it in, and feeling sorry for myself, went to get some oat milk from M&S (It’s the only place that sells it in town now). I also got some mozzarella and a bag of salad to bump up my existing food supplies. I won’t get any more money for a bit, so I was really focused about what I was buying. Then I spotted a yellow sticker. And another. Then another. All in all I came out with £30 of shopping for £10. Because it’s Marksies, the meals have actual nutritional content.

I’ve been eating a lot of smash and beans.

I gave a beggar 50p. If I could not shit myself at having spent a tenner on ‘ready meals’ then I could afford that act of kindness. (Though, to be fair to myself, the deals were very good and most of the stuff I bought was to supplement what I already have at home.) After I paid I realized what I’d done. I needed every penny left to get to my Aunties tomorrow. She wants to talk about the wills we are all beneficiaries of. Just think Jarndyce and fucking Jarndyce… we will all be dead before they are settled. This is the first time the door ways of communication have been opened since grandma’s and granddad’s funerals.

I’ve been so busy looking after my dad, that I just let them get on with it. My life continues its descent into destitution: the terror I used to feel has now subsided. This is the new normal. I always have to pull money from no where when the rent is due. There is nothing left to sell. My clothes are old and thread bare, my hair is grey and frizzy, my complexion is bland, my eyes tired, and the less said about my demeanor the better.

It’s going to take a forward thinking manager to see through that and recognize my worth. I don’t know my own worth anymore… It certainly is not the £21,000 I used to be able to command. My attempts to get sick pay, have been declined and I am forced into seeking work I am not well enough to do. If I’d been able to find work when I still had juice left in the tank, then this would be a good time to find part-time work I feel capable of doing whilst ploughing through the counselling.

Presently, I can not do both. Did I make this pact before I recognised that or after? I will commit to one thing only and see it through to completion. I have spent my life fracturing my efforts, so this time I am not going to renege on my promise to myself. I’ve have a new counsellor… I start again in two weeks.

My will be done. Before my will power completely deserts me, I will focus on my therapy. When I have wrangled my past into something manageable and my future into something worth sticking about for, then I can take on the next challenge. But for now, I’ll be doing the poor person shuffle from week to week. Aside from the flashbacks, panic attacks and the lack of sleep, I feel an underlying calm. Is this acceptance or denial?

I’ve been working very hard with a counsellor over the last six months or more and just as I was beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, the rug was pulled out from under me. The service I have been using had its funding cut and as a result, I have lost my counsellor.

The things I have been tackling have been so overwhelming that my brain shuts down and I have been almost fainting. Sometimes, I wish I had fainted, it’s a hugely exhausting process to try and navigate. Things that have been suppressed for so long have been making themselves front and centre and I have had no choice but to take them on, or be consumed by them.

I’m glad though, because working on these issues means I get to deal with the aching loneliness that I feel every day. I get to work on the tension that is so bad, that I am pulling leg muscles just walking down the street. I had no idea, that my stomach problems were rooted in my past trauma. And while most people might have said, “No Shit, Sherlock”, I genuinely thought that my jaw clenching was ‘because’ of my teeth aching, not the other way round.

The idea that you have to love yourself before anyone else can has always infuriated me. What the fuck do you do if you don’t know what love is? We all think we do, but when asked to describe it, we can not. I’m going for these things: trust, respect, tenderness, presence. When I can give these things to myself, in the same way that I used to be able to give these to other people, then I think I will have cracked it.

Recently, my relationships with other people have been rupturing. I’m so tired of putting on the happy mask everyday. The more I change (and reveal myself), the more people ‘reveal’ themselves to me. Sometimes, people have been real arseholes, even friends that I’ve had for decades. Sometimes, it’s become apparent that I haven’t the necessary strength needed to maintain friendships with people who to be frank, are just as needy as I am.

I’ve also been getting used to the idea, that not all friendships last forever, which is news to me. I never really knew what a friend is, or what one does. Who teaches you this stuff? Honestly, if you know, tell me, cos I feel like I have to go back to school. Some friendships might be on hold while I try figure out who the fuck I am, I’d hate to hurt someone while I’m writhing about inside myself this way.

It’s my 40th this year and my mum keeps asking me what I want. I’d like to tell her I want my mum back, and I’d like to see my compassion and humour return. I want my ‘bounce’ back. I reckon I’m going to stick to a picnic and two tickets to the opera though. That may be more realistic for now. Maybe by patching together some more positive memories I can build a past I can look back on with some happiness.

All the things I can not say:

I have endometriosis.

Every time I have a period I have a lot of pain. A LOT of pain.

When I was 22 I was in an abusive relationship and he caused me a lot of pain. A LOT of pain.

When ever I have a period, the pain mixes together and I can’t tell how much of the pain that I am in is anguish.

I want a baby.

My body wants a baby.

Every month, I have a shout and a scream and then a big cry, because there is nowhere else for me to burn off this energy.

I want sex. My god, do I miss sex.

I want intimacy. I ache sometimes because I go for so long without being touched, even by friends.

I would like a relationship, but I am terrified of emotional intimacy. I have a very serious problem with not being able to identify monsters. I can see them for other people, but I am incapable of seeing them for myself.

Every time I spend Christmas with my nephew, when I leave him, I feel like a hole has been blown in my hull. My ship sinks. I miss him so much, and yet, I am scared that my clinging love will stifle him. So, I make every excuse under the sun to not go visit: he lives too far away, I can’t afford the travel, I would be interfering……….

I am fed up of my drunk mothers self centred, self absorbed bullshit. I am tired of my stepdads refusal to go to counselling with her because he is terrified she will leave him. I am tired of my dad’s blasé responses because he is also incapable of talking. I am tired of feeling like a fucking teenager, because my parents never taught me to grow up, or learn how to spot a monster.

This Christmas, when my mother stood jabbing her finger an inch away from my face, snarling “You should let someone love you”. I died inside.

I am trying. I am trying. For the love of fucking love, I am trying. It hurts so much, and I keep on trying.

The playlist for this most modern tragedy is the album that was big when I was 22:
Lauren Hill – X-Factor.

So last night was a tough night. I took a tablet that I know knocks me out, I usually only take half a tablet when I need it for pain, but…

A while ago I remember looking at websites for warning signs of psychopaths. I wanted to know what other people seemed to know, and more importantly, I wanted to avoid being drawn into abusive relationships. I need to avoid being drawn into abusive relationships. I have utterly reached my limit with them. A friend of mine asked me to compile a list of ‘tells’ that we could use to create a ‘safe space’ in a business that we are trying to set up.

I didn’t really know where to start. And then it dawned on me last night: I do. And I have the perfect example of it in operation. My neighbour is not a psychopath, but he is a thoroughly horrible person. Possibly an alcoholic. definitely a grade A arsehole. For the last two years I have been slowly indoctrinated in to ‘how to be a perfect neighbour of 32’. It’s only over that last several months that I have realised just how bad things have been, and how traumatic the experience is having to relive the kind of oppression and abuse that I used to have to live with as a child.

We don’t want to make the links; we close our eyes; but there comes a time when our eyes are opened for us. There comes a time, where a series of events forces your brain to acknowledge the severity of the situation you are living with. And once opened, they can not forget what they have seen. This is where I am. Tackling historic neglect and abuse, while trying to manage it in my day-to-day life. It’s exhausting. But the thing I realised last night, I am an educated grown woman, with a voice. I can change my circumstances. I can unlearn ‘learned helplessness’. There is help and I am going to take it.

Here is how it works. I’ve told you all before, I’m sure… Your silence is a pre-requisite for continued abuse. Now listen here, before you go all victim blaming on yourself. It is not your fault you have been silent. It’s not my fault I have been silent, say it with me. It is not my fault I have been silent, but now I realise I have been silent, I will not be silent anymore. You go and you find that person that will listen AND help you move out of victimhood. We don’t live here, not any more. We have new rules to live by, and they are made by us, not them.

I called the police today. When the neighbour pulled up in the car, he got out of the car and called me a something ‘shit’. I just picked the phone up and called the police. They asked me what had led up to him calling me a something ‘shit’ and I said, ‘my front door is open’. When the police officer asked me in that disbelieving tone of voice, “what else happened”, I didn’t own that and think oh god they don’t believe me. I thought, I barely believe it myself mate! And I live next door to it. When I replied calmly and clearly that the door being open WAS the provocation, he asked me further questions. I was then able to tell him about the harassment order.

There is a new thing now, they ask you how you feel. How does it make you feel. Well I barely know, because I’m not used to being able to give voice to my feelings, as and when they happen. I’m not used to taking positive action in the moment. That kind of thing would have led to all manner of idiocy in my childhood days. But I am not a child. And I am not a victim. I am a person who is being intimidated, by another person who has his own reasons for acting like the very devil.

How do I feel? Right now, I feel focused and empowered. I feel future focused and slightly energised. I feel ready to take this man on, and push back those boundaries.

How did I feel at the time? Intimidated, nervous, on edge, anxious, frustrated… I know there will be some people out there thinking ‘brush it off’. ‘Sticks and stones’, but with this type of harassment, no out right display of physical violence or aggression is necessary, he already set that up two years ago.

He proved that he would drive his car at me in the street, the message being clear, “I will run you over”, “You will be punished”, “This is my street”. I once heard his visitor ask him how I got in and out of the house, and he told her that I used the back door, she just said, “oh”, and accepted that. I almost did too, it seems reasonable, doesn’t it? I park here, because she uses the back door. The truth is a little different isn’t it. I use the back door because I do not want to be driven at. I use the back door because I have been threatened with violence if I am seen in the street and he is in his car.

His bullying days are numbered. I AM going to use the front door and use the street, and if he drives at me, I WILL report him to the police. I will report every incident, from the vile words, to the door kicking and on. I will list and log every incident. I will not ‘only tell people of the worst of it’ I will tell of every look and glance designed to threaten, control and manipulate me. He cannot bank on my silence anymore. He can not control my life any further.

There is a new boss in town, and it’s me.

I had a fall a last Monday and hurt my left leg. I’m able to walk on it, but I have significant bruising and the pain keeps me awake at night. Combine this with ‘next door neighbours’ and some life issues and I am sleepless in Bradford. I’m a night owl, it has always been thus. They are larks, they have probably always been thus. I am in a lark sandwich.

There are other things on my TickerTapeMind. I’m thinking about communication and miscommunication. I’m thinking about if we can change who we are, and if we can, should we? I’m thinking about normal and what is expected of us by society and I am thinking about ‘Nothing’.

This could be a long post, already I am wondering how long, so I may take this in two parts. The primary thought is how I’ve been neglecting my men folk. My women folk are all genned up with my second hand knowledge, not so much the men; why is this? Any of the above for example?

I had to learn to communicate efficiently. I had to acknowledge that I could not change the people I love. I can get new people, but I am sure they will come with new communication issues. I am certain that I am being as authentic as I am able and have changed what I can from what I want to change. But my pathological cycles began to hamper my well being. I needed to move beyond, in order to make a new life.

I’m about 85% there. My most recent trip to therapy resulted in “Why are you really here?” The answer was to learn that I was in fact OK. That the only thing that was wrong, was that I had forgotten that I was doing really well and interacting with the people around me in much better terms. Not only had I progressed, but the people around me had noticed this and wanted to progress also. They had begun their own journeys. I myself began mine through observing someone elses.

How did we do it? I’ll tell you: AQA Listening Skills and CBT. That and allowing myself to receive love and compassion. By ignoring the permanent berating of my inner parent and by nourishing my inner child. I don’t mind if you think this is all bunkum, or pop psychology, you are obviously happy with your patterns and cycles if you think that way. Good luck to you!

Personally, I needed to know that what I said would be accepted the way it was intended. I needed to know that I could say something and felt heard and understood. I knew that something was wrong when I was always getting into arguments when I was trying to ‘make things better’. Of course, some people have a vested interest in deliberately misunderstanding, but if you take my advice you will know that it is not for lack of trying on your part. You can have your say and then feel completely satisfied when you tell them to “Go fuck yourself”.

AQA Listening Skills to learn how to listen properly. CBT to learn how to talk properly. I am certain in days gone by the community would have taught us how to do this is; via extended family, being receptive to the wisdom of our elders and having time to sit and receive. But this is not days gone by and they may never come again. Let me be clear, this is not going to take five minutes. If you take my advice you are signing up for a year or so of study and self improvement. Ask yourself this: “Can I live the way that I have been living for another 5 years?”. If not, take my advice.

AQA Listening Skills or an equivalent, involves practical sessions with a peer group. You may be able to do the course on-line, but if you need to learn how to listen, well then you are going to have to be with people. CBT is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. This learning how to recognise our cycles and thought patterns and how to break them, it is about learning to identify our true emotions (independent to those around us) and it is about communicating authentically with the people we interact with.

You have everything you need. The best answers are the most simple ones, but do not think for a second they are going to be easy answers. Be prepared for your world to get a bit messier, be prepared to wonder why the hell you thought this was a good idea.

This is why you will need to allow yourself to receive love and compassion, because when you change the way you interact with the people you love, they fight back. They say things like: You’ve changed, I don’t know you any more, Why are you always so angry, You are pathetic… Just remember, this will pass. They will accept the new you (eventually) and they may even be inspired by you to make a change in their own lives.

Lots of love from your absent and distracted friend,
TickerTapeMind.

1) Send out an email. There are too many recipients for this email. So send out 5 emails. Do some social media stuff.

2) Download something. Download a bittorrent. Download a template. Down load the thing. Install the thing. Do something to the thing. Re-upload the thing.

3) Arts council funding bid for a really bloody good project, that someone has potentially plagiarised from me. Why didn’t I keep my stuff more secret? Why didn’t I apply for more funding? Why did I get disheartened at the first hurdle and throw it all away.

4) Apply for a job.

5) Make a poster

6) Finish a piece of art and find someone to by it, so I can fulfill a promise I made.

7) Put some stuff on a bidding site to sell.

8) Take some things to charity. More things.

9) Respond to an email from an old friend saying thanks but no thanks… Why aren’t these people leaving me alone? It’s been years… What am I to conclude from the fact that people I am trying to leave behind refuse to be left?

10) Sort out volunteering at the local Buddhist Centre.

11) Send a reminder email to someone about volunteering my time to give benefits advice to people who are in need.

12) Go pick up somethings from a friends. Do things with the things.

13) Apply oil paints to an existing piece of art (recently made).

14) Call my mum.

15) Stop devoting brain energy to certain people, who are not even in the same city as me.

16) Write more book.

17) Call my dads and brother

and on and on and on and on and on and on and on… It feels like a land slide… I have to make some doctors appointments and attend some clinics too. I just want a hug really. From someone who loves me. A real physical hug, from a man, who loves me. I’d like to sleep properly and I’d like to move again. I’m feeling really claustrophobic.

I did manage to do several positive things today, but then someone stole my joy by telling a rape joke. It wasn’t funny. They never are. Did you know that if you tell someone who has told a rape joke that they are not funny, you reduce instances of rape. FACT. Don’t be a baby dude, tell your friend he’s not funny. I would, but we all know what happens when ‘teh menz’ are ask by women not to be arseholes.

Get Here If You Can – Oleta Adams.