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Jake

Hi everyone, feel free to read my story!

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Jake

It’s just so bad, too hard to admit…

 

One thing that I have been grappling with considerably of late, is the possibility that I am a victim of family violence. The more I have engaged with the thought that I am, the more it has been upsetting me, disturbing me deeply inside. This has only happened over the past 2 days now.  I “watch myself”, and I see have thought about all the little things that I do, because of the way I suffered for 3 years at the hands of mum and dad.

A “quirk” I have, where I just laugh a lot for no real reason. This laughing often makes my friends wonder, obviously, why I am laughing – when nothing funny has really happened. Yeah, I attribute that behaviour to the trauma. I also attribute my anxiety, the poor eye contact, the (minor) disruption in social graces to the year-long abuse. I don’t blame myself for any of this though, I think anyone who endured what I did would come out affected in some way to this extent.

It has been so hard lately, for the past couple of days now, I have just been feeling empty, disgusting and painful. Above all, I have felt violated. I have denied that I was a victim of family violence, but I think that is consistent with the experience of being a victim of family violence. With what I have explained to my friends, they have thought that I endured family violence of a terrible kind.

What I find most strange, and what I use to justify to myself that I am not a victim – is that I have left it this long to deal with the reality that I am a victim of family violence. I have left it as long as 3 years, to begin to think about whether or not I suffered from FV. It’s true, I have never really thought good long and hard to myself “am I, or was I a victim of family violence”. I would say only this year I began to think about it. But of course, I should be kinder to myself. I should realise that it is probably very normal that I haven’t thought about it, because it is something that is scary to think about. And not just that, there are many other reasons why I suppressed it. A counsellor I spoke to through 1800 RESPECT touched on minimising it just to cope. But I can’t say I consciously chose to minimise it.

I am taking all the right steps now to getting help with this, and to be honest – I look forward to finding out from my psychologist as to whether or not he thinks I am victim.  But perhaps the validation I need will only need to come from within. Perhaps, I need only ask myself do I think I am a victim of FV.

 

2010-2013; three very painful years

 

Towards the end of the 2010 I would have been graduating year 12, I have a few memories here and there of that very day. Although, I do have a memory that would be more characteristic of the relationship with my parents today – that has certainly stuck around. Mum would bring up many years down the track how I wouldn’t spend any time with her on the day of the graduation, rather I went and spent time with my friend who was also graduating. It’s interesting to reflect on that observation my parents made, perhaps it provides a bit of insight as to where I sat with them even back then. As you might well understand, I’d rather eschew the details that are not at all positive with respect to the relationship with my parents then and now. But I choose to be brave, for my own sake, and for the sake of the other DV/FV survivors out there. And show them that they can overcome their past, and lead a healthy, happy and productive life.

The primary concern that my parents had – that I was aware of, was the fact that I didn’t have a job. My younger brother didn’t have any issue finding work, from my perspective at least he was able to land jobs, left right and centre. My older brother too, didn’t seem to have any issues either, however later down the track he wouldn’t be able to hold down a job at all due to him being diagnosed with schizophrenia. I recall on one occasion he ended up getting fired from his childcare position, because he lost his phone and he accused his colleagues of stealing his phone. And that was the last job I would ever see him have. Me on the other hand, I wasn’t exactly working either. However, I did have a job/hobby, and I call it a job/hobby due to being paid for doing something that I rather enjoyed a lot. And that was umpiring basketball. I would be umpiring basketball many nights a week, and it certainly kept me out of the house (despite mum thinking I never left the house at all). After finishing year 12, I would also eventually start doing volunteer work, alongside umpiring. So, I did keep myself fairly busy, and I didn’t really sit at home all day, every day. I genuinely had things to do quite often. But despite all this activity, my parents refused to believe that I did anything with my life, rather they defaulted all the time to thinking that I sat in my bedroom playing video games all the time. Which I know for certain isn’t true at all. Things would change though and eventually I would get a job! One day I was out cold canvassing and I got asked to sit down and talk to the manager of a furniture store about a job, and so I did and then that day I went home and told mum and dad I got a job! I can’t remember how they took that news, they probably asked me a couple of questions here and there, other than that who knows! I would end up losing that job though, and then I would get employed again. Then, I would lose than job also due to the business liquidating. That job at Hungry Jacks would be the last job I would ever have again (until this day even).

I recall at one point I would be back trying again to get a job, this time trying to do a course to find work in another sector (aged care this time). I tried it out in aged care, however I found this work too demanding and it simply was not the right fit for me. I couldn’t handle the work. I recall bringing the news home that aged care wasn’t going to work out for me at all, and I received very harsh comments from my mother – it sticks with me today “what is so hard about looking after old people”. I remember feeling humiliated and ashamed of myself; like the biggest idiot on earth. Instance just like the one I detailed would happen again, except this next time when I got a job as a bingo caller, I knew that job wasn’t going to work out for me either – I would receive comments from mum when I would tell her that job wasn’t going to work out for me. Were comments such as I use my anxiety as a crutch to not get a job, or I just “play the anxiety card” to do away with the responsibility of getting a job. Which wasn’t true at all! I wanted a job more than anything! – and to this day I still do.

So as the years wore on, I basically got to the point where nothing would be working for me at all. I couldn’t get a job, I couldn’t get my parents off my back, I couldn’t escape the home environment which was fast becoming toxic, with mum, dad, and my brothers targeting me and shaming me because everything wasn’t as they wanted things to be. The next parts that I will detail are the parts that I think are DV/FV red flags. So I guess as a warning, if you do not wish to read on at this point, then I suggest you leave the reading around here or so. The choice is yours, but what I will say is that there is light at the end of my tunnel and I do want you to see what incredible odds I overcame.

 

This is actually the first time I am coming out and talking about this, and the reason why it's the first time is because while I have thought quite a lot about whether or not I was a victim of family violence, and I was somewhat inclined to think I was. Overall I feel like I am being overly dramatic about what I experienced with my mum, dad and my brothers. Sure, when I lived with my parents I endured many horrible things. My parents emotionally bullied me big time, they mocked me, ridiculed me, my mother on one occasion told me to "go and think about suicide" after I wrote a note to her telling her I have been thinking about committing suicide. All I can say is I know better than anyone else how I felt while living with my parents for those 3 dreadful years. I remember the pain, the crying and the utter despair I lived in. The despair of feeling like no one cared about me, the ones who I thought would care for me no matter what have betrayed me, all because I couldn't get a job. And even when I would get jobs, they wouldn't work out for me for any number of reasons. Some of which the jobs just weren't suitable for me. The reasons why mum and dad would bully me were considerable, ranging from "you do nothing with yourself, other than sit in your bedroom all day playing video games", "you use your anxiety as a crutch so you don't have to get a job". Mum would punish me for not paying rent by not washing my clothes, giving me any dinner and she would get my dad to banish me to the shed to sleep until I paid the rent I owed them. As much as it pains me to admit this, I would go several days without eating as I couldn’t afford to pay them rent (do to having 0 income from anywhere). So I would have no other option but to “steal” from the cupboard, but more often than not when I was caught stealing I would go without eating for several more days due to being embarrassed that I guess went with going to these measures… as a result of this I would become very sick, due to not eating for several days on end. On a couple of occasions, I would go weeks without eating. You might be wondering whether or not I brought these issues up with my doctor, absolutely I did bring up the abuse I felt I was receiving at the time – but this doctor didn’t act on it in a way that I think would be consistent with legal procedures. There were times where I sat in the doctor’s office crying in front of her that I couldn’t take the emotional abuse, it was far too much and it really hurt. But for some reason, this foolish doctor didn’t take me seriously and it must not have ever clicked in her head that she was consulting a victim of FV.

There was even one occasion where my dad took a picture of one of my favourite athletes off the wall, and took the picture outside and smashed the frame on the ground. Fortunately, I got it fixed, but mum didn't even care that dad did this, despite me telling her. I might be forgetting many other things that took place between the years 2010-2013. But all I will say is that all those experiences lead me to develop serious issues later down the track, such as anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation and all those experiences led me to make one fair dinkum attempt on my life. I won’t go into any detail about the suicide attempt, as that was easily the single-most darkest chapter/moment of my entire life.

I touched on earlier that my brother had received a diagnosis of schizophrenia. This certainly happened, and you can’t help but think that his diagnosis altered the family dynamics dramatically. I believe it did, but it certainly isn’t an excuse to go and abuse your children. Not only though did my brother have schizophrenia, he had epilepsy and an intellectual learning disability. He really has a lot on his plate… this brother in particular is the only family member I love, irrespective of whether he loves me – I’m sure he does! I know from time to time he would frustrate my parents, and really test their patience. But what I never appreciated was the name calling he was subjected to. He was referred to as a retard, a mental patient, a psycho, a loon and many others. I always objected to this fiercely, as it hurt my feelings so profoundly that these horrible parents of mine would say such fucked up turnips to someone I loved so much. According to the research I have done, this would constitute family violence.  

 

I think I was extremely fortunate to have gotten the help that I did that led to me moving out of home and rehabilitating. 3 years on from 2013, I would enrol in uni, and am still here today (nearly completed half of my degree). I also live on my own, and have some really great, supportive friends.

When I am out in public now, I can’t help but feel totally inferior to most people. When I see people in jobs, I feel inferior to them because I don’t have a job. For a few years, I would tremble at the sight of the police, as I was worried they were looking for me – and wanted to ask me questions about what was going on at home, and that I would wind up arrested for saying things about mum and dad. However, as I touched on just before I have come a long way now. I have moved out of home, I haven’t been emotionally abused for a very long time – I am going to university now and I have nearly completed half of my bachelor’s degree. I live on my own and manage just fine doing so.

What I am having to deal with now is my best friends concern that my brother may or may not be getting abused by my mum or dad – similar to how I was. I doin’t suspect that it would be the case, but I do understand the seriousness of DV/FV, and I want to make for certain that my brother is OK. At this point in time, not only am I coming to think that I was a victim of FV, but that my poor brother might be suffering right now and there is little I can do…  my best friend doesn’t quite realise that she has basically placed this burden on me that more or less says “here is this FV mess, now clean it up!”. That’s the best way I can describe the burden, and it’s really quite hard to know what to do. Fortunately, my best friend is a magnificent person, and she will certainly support me every step of the way. At this point in time I wait to see my psychologist, to see what he thinks.

I think I will leave it at this, I appreciate the time you took to read all this and I look forward to talking to you more about my experiences.     

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chachacha

Welcome. We're here for you.  It's ok to admit you are a survivor.  It's ok to be feeling the things you're feeling.  *hugs*

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Jake

I didn't see that someone had replied. I didn't receive an email so I didn't think anyone noticed my post... so thanks for getting back to this post. I appreciate what you have to say, it hasn't been easy at all these past few days. Absolutely not easy at all... and today things just seem worse again.

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chachacha

It's  hard  to admit that you had  something happen to you for no  reason  at all, that you were dealt a bad hand.  For me, it is hard to understand why I try to live my life as a good person, I stick my neck out for others, I am forgiving, I am patient, and I try to do everything I can to be honest, generous, kind, forthright, and loving and I still have this horrible cycle happening to me.  I sometimes think about bad karma from a past life or SOMETHING to explain it.  It just feels so unfair.  But the only thing I can do is (re)build a support system and chin up, rebuild my life doing the things important to me and be the kind of person I want to be.  It's hard to come to terms with being alone but I  need to do that for a while.  I  have had to distance myself from the  fairweather friends and the fakers and users.  I have had to remove  toxic people from my life, including family members.   I often  say that blood is not an excuse to abuse and some  of my family feels entitled to continue to  treat each  other  badly and that they must be forgiven because blood is thicker than  water.  I don't  play by those rules.  If someone is toxic, they are gone,  even  if they are blood. I don't have room in my life for people like that and it only hurts me more to allow them to continue.  Those too that enable the toxic people are  kept at a distance.  It's  tough.  They alienate you and make you the outsider, the one that can't just forgive.  For me, it's  not  about forgiving, it's  about not allowing  ACTIVE abuse.  My sister just said other day "1 and done".  She is right, for dating.  Though family should also not be allowed repeated offenses.

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Jake

Yeah, I had a friend's mum say that I need to forgive my mum. And that really pissed me off, because forgiving others is a personal journey that the abused makes the decision on.

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