Real Stories Inside The Social Care System- How My Loving Family Became Unrecognisable: Part 2 – Anonymous

Continues from part 1 https://theavengeruk.com/2019/02/03/real-stories-inside-the-social-care-system-how-my-loving-family-became-unrecognisable-part-1-anonymous/

I was slowly growing, with no steady income, or father I had to help my mother a lot with my siblings.

We were neglected as my mother resorted to booze for depression. We were a dysfunctional family there were no boundaries nor routine.

Many alcohol users came to the home to ‘party’ leaving us to fend for ourselves. I’d have to cut potatoes into slices and fry them as chips.

Nutella spread was a life saver.

Instant mash for my younger sister. That’s all we knew.  

I thought it was normal because it was continuous. My mother conditioned us well in never being allowed to reveal what happened at home otherwise we would be taken away from her.

That thought frightened us all especially me, as I did not want to be separated from my siblings, I thought no one could take care of them better than I did. So, we stayed quiet; the art of deception and manipulation.

My mother had multiple partners and relationships, I never developed an affectionate bond with her so there were no intimate moments such a cuddles or alone time spent with her.

Her attention was more focused on partying with her pals.

No one cared for us we were just side-lined. My mother often verbally abused us even beat us when we refused her demands or were unhappy with something.

We would all be woken up sometimes in the middle of the night from a deep sleep to accompany her to the shops to buy more booze. I remember all of us crying out of tiredness.

Many times, we would go hungry as she spent welfare benefits on booze.

We were isolated, abused, and neglected. We all had severe headlice, the soles of our feet would be black from all the dirt from the carpet, many times drinks, faeces, and urine would be embedded onto the carpet. Our uniforms would be dirty, naturally we all possessed an unkempt look, our attendance at school was declining through that concerns were raised by school to social services.

Normal checks would be undertaken with us not saying anything against our mother eventually the case being closed. My mother developed a reputation within the area as being the local ‘prostitute’ her promiscuity didn’t help.

We often were teased & bullied due to that. I hated her!

I just wanted her to be normal, a normal mum, why couldn’t she be normal? I’d wonder. 

I thought about my father, what state was he in?

Was he ok?

Would he get well soon?

I formed a hate for my mother she would turn into another person when drunk, a pretentious egotistical embarrassment! We never brought friends over because of the state of the home including her impulsive behaviour. It was all about her, her drink, her party, he music, her enjoyment. We would always come home to a full house and music with drink. my maternal uncles knew my dad left, they included themselves in my mums partying, playing an active role in supplying her with drink. They did not care about us. I developed a thick skin when my uncle tried to molest me with my mother’s approval. Promising to buy me a new phone if I allowed it. I was determined that would not happen by pre- planning my escape and defence if it did. (it didn’t happen) the verbal abuse was bad enough though. I would get so upset sometimes I wrap myself up so tight into my quilt and sob.

Emotional heartbreak!

I couldn’t believe someone that was supposed to love me could hurt be so badly.

No one was there to protect us no one was kind to us.

I’d look at my mother in her skimpy outfits dancing provocatively, insinuating sexual gestures toward men in the home openly.

She knew I was unhappy she laughed.

There was no stopping her-she did what she wanted, the attention was too great for her.

It gave me a gut-wrenching feeling where at times anger would build up, I imagined wanting her dead believing that would give me some release.

1999 I was 11 years old. I started high school. I enrolled myself, went to all the open days on my own dressed in my primary school uniform.

Many children were there with their parents, I was alone.

I got through, settled well made friends and was happy enough. My mother was still beating me especially if I didn’t tend to my younger siblings or clean up before she woke. One Saturday morning I did everything that was requested of me, yet my mother proceeded to grill me about how useless I was, I felt anger instead of being scared.

She continued holding a broom stick waiting to strike.

I conjured up strength from anger, got up snatched the broom held it towards her and said

“don’t you ever hit me again, if you do, I will hit back”

I believe at the moment I would have damaged her. My mother was in shock she used my little sister as a pawn called the police and stated I beat her. The police attended our home I was shaking and crying. The officer spoke to me alone explain indirectly that he knew I didn’t do anything. I was so fearful. He could see I was a lost soul. I said

“I don’t want to be here, I have to stay because of my siblings”

He took a statement and passed it on to the right department.

From that day forward my mother never laid a finger on me or my siblings. I took sole care of them. She went out selling herself for cash or to party. Its as if she was the child and I were the parent.

The roles switched that’s how it felt.

During the summer holidays, on one occasion I went out to meet a friend, while doing so shortly I was approached by a family member who instructed me to rush home. I was not interested until I was instructed again in which I did listen and started making my back thinking this better not be a joke. I walked in and to my surprise my brother was in tears sitting on my mother’s lap with two suited men sitting on my floor I thought “what the hell”

My mum said ‘come near to me’ I declined and sat on the sofa alone. Eyes were all on me (sad eyes) my mum shared,

“Nini your dad is dead”

I froze, I wailed and shook uncontrollably.

“He was arrested for being drunk and was taken to the police station, he had a heart attack in his overnight cell”

I couldn’t even understand that!

A part of me died that day, I totally lost my innocence and childhood.

We attended the funeral where there was an open casket, I saw my paternal grandmother who cried non-stop, the grandmother I did not see in years but loved so dearly as a child.

Nobody cuddled us. Not even our mother.

We saw our dad in his coffin while family prayed repeating mantras.

My fathers’ family were informed of his death before we were and took full responsibility for funeral arrangements. It was a traditional Hindu ceremony followed with cremation.

Very surreal, I was frightful as I thought my dad would wake up, he didn’t. 

Dressed in a dark ash grey suit he lay there with his jet-black hair combed over concealing his bald patch, he looked like a healthy man just asleep.

My father slept rough and drank constantly his health deteriorated linked to alcohol misuse. He lived briefly in a hostel causing a disturbance as he was highly intoxicated, being arrested and detained He was found unconscious in his cell the following morning.

There was an inquest to his death which ruled “death by natural causes” as the autopsy revealed.

He died two days after my brother’s birthday. He was 46 years old.

Age 27 I managed to locate his coroners report and death certificate. That provided me with much needed closure. Two years later from his death my mother didn’t change.

We were all removed from my mother’s care the local authority placing a full care order on myself and my siblings. My mother lost all parental rights, she refused to undergo requests made social services giving her a chance to prove herself as a mother.

It was a hard time we suffered deep emotional trauma.

My mother did not seek to keep in contact with us. (she made many excuses from not having the means to travel, when she didn’t need to our location was 10 minutes walking distance. Her partners, party life was more important, she was free to do what she wanted.)

Now aged 53 she suffers alcohol related illnesses which include acute brain damage. She is alone, isolated & having to take many forms of medications. My siblings are not in contact with her, I have visited her a couple of times for closure, my mother is still in denial.

She still drinks, however I believe she understands what her choices, behaviour, and actions have cost her. It’s too late, we have all grown up leading healthy lives.

Only recently finding out, myself and my siblings were known to social services over a span of 10 years.

So, when I was age 5! There was discord already at the early stages. 20 years ago, was a different time and place but we shouldn’t have had to endure what we did.

As for compassion I find it hard to have for both parents of mine. I have empathy to a certain extent but compassion is different. I lost my childhood, my identity, my family. I wondered for years what love was, what belonging felt like.

It took me a very long time to figure it all out, well come to some conclusion.

I am age 30 with two beautiful boys who are a pleasure! They are thriving and are super content. I share the stories my parents told me with them as it’s important for them to know about their grandparents, even though they may never meet to build a bond. I see both my mother and father in them. I am at peace with everything as I am strong, having built my life the way I want it.

Being truthfully honest, I have had many bad patches, trials and tribulations. I never knew what potential I had until I left my mother, I received intense therapy, which helped build my confidence understanding between love and abuse.

See I never realised fully that my situation was abuse because I always believed parents do not do that. I loved my father dearly, I loved my mother, but despised her choices and actions. I hated my father for leaving, for drinking, for dying! Same as I hated my mother for her abusive nature, her insults, her lashings, her inability to protect and care for me and my siblings. But then I think as from the beginning look at how my parents met, look under what circumstances, look at their own trials coming into this country fleeing all they knew. was its trauma that was never been dealt with?

I don’t know. But what I do know is the power of love is real, I love my boys and I could not imagine them going through half the things I did.

I have my days where I’m on edge because the world can be over whelming, but never would I subject intentional abuse towards my children. They are my world the only biological family I have that are close.

For them, I work hard, I better myself, I strive for achievement and positivity. Most of all I know I want to be nothing like how my parents ended up. I wish I got to know my parents a bit better their drinking clouded their ability to connect normally.

I’ve had to be totally broken in order to fix myself back up again.

I chose to swim instead of sink, I am a survivor.

Very rarely do I open up privately as it is extremely personal, but I realise real stories should be shared in order to help others heal we are not alone!

Nini

Part 1 is here https://theavengeruk.com/2019/02/03/real-stories-inside-the-social-care-system-how-my-loving-family-became-unrecognisable-part-1-anonymous/

 

Real Stories Inside The Social Care System- How My Loving Family Became Unrecognisable: Part 1- Anonymous

Two mountains apart, unable to withstand heat from the sun neither bolts of lightning, their upright posture slowly crumbles descending into a lake where love and hate meet, to separate them would be as trying to remove oil from water’ -They flow together.

My mother and father are of Indian descent, being born, raised, and having lived in parts of the African continent. From my vague recollection (pardon me) both sets of grandparents decided it would be best to flee their homeland in order to escape the remnants of the British Raj (British rule by the British crown in the Indian subcontinent between 1858-1947) hoping for a prosperous future. Original location of residency in India is unknown to me. 

My mother, the youngest daughter of nine siblings spoke regularly of her upbringing in what is called ‘The warm heart of Africa’ Malawi. Attending formal education at an all-girls school expressing her love for singing, dancing, and sharing jokes with peers. I always got the sense from her story telling that she was a mischievous child, her cheeky grin and smirk would confirm I was right in my thinking. Her father (My maternal grandfather) owned a convenience store with my grandmother being a housewife. I would hear of her mother tongue, (Chichewa, official national language along with English) when she spoke to relatives – I was alien to it! However, the happy stories gave me a sense of her free natured childhood spent content.

Similar feelings were felt about my father, as a young child you absorb such stories you hear about your parents with joy & fascination. I believe my father had four siblings, he too had a mischievous streak being born in Kenya (Uganda) he had that ‘Hakuna Matata’ ( No worries) feeling whenever he was around or wherever he went, climbing up coconut trees, visiting the Serengeti & Maasai Mara people, helping them with their animal duties, as well as serving in the Kenyan army for a while. I don’t know whether that is true – my paternal aunty did say his childhood dream was to be a ‘hero’ I suspect being in the army or pretending to be could have made him believe he was one! Convincing others too. My father did attend school finishing his formal education at age sixteen. He spoke the national language,  (‘Kiswahili’ commonly known as ‘Swahili although I never really heard him speak with great depth, only one word from my recollection ‘Jambo’ meaning hello.)

 

In 1979 my father alongside his family left Kenya immigrating to England (London) North West London to be precise. My mother followed suit with her family living within the same areas.

There was a period where African migrants believed their countries were being ‘taken over’ by foreigners a feeling my family could empathise with, so regarding that, many Indian settlers were ‘kicked’ out even forced out by malicious attacks possibly, (which I will not delve into) my point is, it must have been very difficult for the both families. Time passed & healed any open emotional wounds I suspect. I know my maternal grandmother did die shortly after arriving.

How did my mother & father meet?

Well, my parents were Hindus and would attend their local Temple alone or with family to pray and offer their deities blessings. My mother’s account- “I met your father in the temple, it started from there“, what a holy place for an encounter like that to come about.

There’s were no such devices as mobile phones I guess it was all word of mouth. My mother & father were in the courting stages…. Communicating they spoke in Gujarati (my grandparents mother tongue native to India, so yes, my parents were bilingual English not being their strongest language.)

“He took me to the same lovely restaurant every Friday when his wages would come through, he would pick me up in a lovely car dressed smartly with his black zipped leather boots, and off we would go – My mother’s eyes twinkle every time she recalls this memory she also starts blushing too!

In India there is a caste system, society there are set within these systems from birth and by family name.

My father I believe, was born into a family with high caste status whereas my mother wasn’t, however, she wasn’t right at the bottom neither. Just different, that difference meant that their families would forbid a marriage. You represented your caste, marrying outside that would bring disrespect and shame onto the family name.

My mother came of age, where an arranged marriage would be proposed, her elder brothers alongside her father would choose someone suitable from back home which they did. The man was brought over to England for the ceremony, but it didn’t last long he was sent back due to not meeting the criteria to obtain British residency.

Being told by my mother to wait and within time they would be together again! He fortunately didn’t/couldn’t wait and married someone else having children. Yay! I’m glad as if it went according to plan I would not be here!

My mother’s heart did break, however, she was adamant that she would choose who she wanted to be with, which she did my father. Both being aware of the caste system including the family’s disapproval. I firmly believe at that time my father was a secure figure in my mothers’ life she formed distrust towards her family regarding the arrange marriage that failed – that wound was still fresh in many ways.

My father provided a safety net for her which she needed. They continued their dates which flourished into ‘love’ that love resulted with me being the product. My mother was pregnant! That I guess was a happy moment, things needed to be well within all angles of their life. Both families did disapprove. Resulting in my parents being forced to live in a hostel.

My father was a motor mechanic by trade securing financial income. Things were ‘very real’ for them now, living alone only having each other. My father was close to his family I suspect my mother was too, so emotional hardships did playout. Maybe the progress of pregnancy and baby arrival could swing the external family to make amends.

Yes!!!! It did! I was born overdue.

“You were born at 40 weeks, the midwives had to induce me. It was a hard labour, you weighed 8 pounds had a full head of black hair, was chubby, with big brown eyes.”

“everyone loved you, including all the hospital staff. I was poorly so the midwives would tend to you I was afraid of kidnap. I would awake and stumble out of my bed, making my way to the nursery to find you-and you were there my baby girl”

Both external families came to visit at home, with presents and eagerly wanting to hold me. Both my grandfathers held me. Proud moment for both my mother and father- that was an Indian custom I guess in terms of blessing perhaps. All was sweet.

“Your father was amazing, he helped so much, made your bottles, changed your nappy, and held you constantly, hating leaving you. He called you his Nini” (my pet name)

I grew up in the hostel until age 2 years. I remember an incident vividly. I hurt my right foot running around – it was painful I cried, my mother and father hoisted me up onto the kitchen counter, reassuring me my dad rubbed some ‘Ghee’ on it (Indian purified butter) I guess it was one of the household remedies of that time. Soon after we moved into a lovely two-bedroom house.

It was great, we had a garden, lovely peacock mirror on the landing, and stairs leading to our rooms!

I loved it I had some very happy times there. My mother cooked wonderful Indian dishes the smell of a mixture of spiced seeds popping in a hot oiled pan. I started to despise my mother’s traditional cooking once I started school (loved English dinners) My dad would work close to home as a mechanic – we would take him lunch sometimes on weekends. Soon after my brother was born. Family would from time to time visit. I loved when my paternal aunties would visit, they were kind, always beautifully dressed, and brought lovely gifts. They had a close bond to my dad it was evident to see. I felt loved!

I thought what a great family!

My paternal grandfather died before the birth of my brother, my dad was distraught. From then, we would regularly visit my paternal grandmother at her house, she never came to ours. That didn’t bother me as I was so excited to see her – I loved her! We would be a couple of minutes from her front door, she would know as she would see us from the window -she’d open the door- that’s it I’d be off, I would run as fast as I could and give her an almighty hug. The feeling of her soft silk white sari pleated waist down with red & gold design. I knew she was my dad’s mum, and my dad was my dad, we all looked similar. My father adored her as she did him.

My father hated leaving my side, I hated leaving hers. Her home was big and beautiful, she had the sweetest smile and caring nature toward me. Her garden was something else! Out of this world all the different plants and flowers were amazing my favourite were her collection of primroses.

I felt so excited and happy there. I wish those visits were made more often as well as fairly. 

My father’s trade boomed. He would work not only in the garage during the week, but to be close to us at home he would fix clients cars during the weekends by appointment.

I admired my dad- “look at me Nini I’m so strong I am carrying an engine of a car

I don’t know if it actually was an engine. His hands and nails would be covered in black oil! He had very strong hands. How cool was my dad I thought at the time?  His clients knew he was good at his job he would fix a problem soon as. Sometimes during the weekday’s clients would pop up to the house assuming he would be in if there was an emergency. Sometimes they would wait or go over to the garage, or decide to come back the next day.

See, the device such as phones just wasn’t available (mobile phones, not everyone could afford them) business was healthy leaving not much time however to visit friends or family.

Both my mother and father would take it in turns with school runs. Our first ever family car was a bright yellow mini! I was ecstatic being driven into school in that car. My dad always made jokes sometimes without the car he would pick me up, the class door would open and he would be there with a gigantic smile with both arms stretched out. He would pick me up twirl me around and place me sitting on his shoulders. I felt on top of the world. I was age 5. From then on, he would sit me on his lap during the evenings read books and at the end ask,

‘M”what would you like to be nini when you grow up’? ‘‘erm…. A nurse”

That answer would be the same for many years following.  My father played with both myself and my brother lovingly. We would all watch Tom and Jerry chuckling all the time!

One day, my mother picked me up from school, I got through the door went upstairs to change into home clothing while my mother started on dinner. Our house phone was upstairs for some strange reason that is unknown to me. The phone rang, I was commanded to answer I did so.

“hello”

“hello, is your dad there?”

“no, he is at work”

“Oh, what about your mum?”

“she is busy cooking”

“I’m going to tell you something about your mum, she is very naughty, she has been very naughty”

I hung up on the unknown caller as I could not recognise the voice. I froze with confusion not understanding what that man meant.

I went downstairs informing my mother of the call but not telling her about the “naughty part, neither questioning her“at that moment I felt fear.

Then it was all forgotten about.

Another occasion I was dropped home by a family friend whose child attended the same school. When reaching home, in the hall-way I saw a new small, elegant mahogany table with our home phone placed on it. I fell in love with the table rushing into the kitchen to ask my mum if I could clean it?

There was a man in the kitchen, a man that was familiar to me, one of my dad’s clients…

I said hello didn’t batter an eyelid and proceeded to obtain the things I needed to clean that beautiful table. I spent hours cleaning and polishing it until my dad walked through the door.

“Hi dad, guess who was here today?”

My parents continued to speak Gujrati, I understood the language being able to speak it too, but preferred to answer in English. When amongst social gatherings we all would speak both English & Gujrati (translation method)

My mother walked out of the kitchen and gave me such a stern look as if to say “you tell, and I will punish you”.

I changed the subject as quick as I could telling him about how long I spent cleaning the table. Within that moment I learned about the art of ‘deceit and lies. I felt uneasy and couldn’t understand why she would not want to tell my dad.

I became protective over my father.

That phone call soon played on my young mind and something did not feel right especially being an open family sharing everything, so secrecy was very new to me.

My mother was having affairs and was promiscuous with my dad’s clients/friends. They were to blame just as her. My father was working, I was at school, my young brother was at home with my mother who had some time to herself now knowing what she decided to use her time on.

My father did find out, as jokes at work were made, he would confront my mother who denied it outright which sparked horrid arguments.

My father would be kicked out on many occasions on purpose so my mother could full-fill her desires privately. It wasn’t private as I could see, hear, and understand whereas my brother couldn’t. I became angry at how my dad’s friends could be cruel including my mum.

I learned about betrayal.

I was a child helpless caught in that horrible pit. Those clients never stayed long -they only wanted one thing, after knowing that, my mum would then rely on my dad. She would become bored and do it again. My father willing to forgive to save our family. I guess temptation was to strong my mother couldn’t resist.

She couldn’t resist it even for the sake of her children.

We were broken from that point on as a family.

My fathers work and mental health suffered. He resorted to alcohol, my mother was pregnant with her third child my half-sister. Yes, biologically my dad was not her father, my mother convinced him he was, when in fact she was his client’s, his best friends’ child!

I knew as he would always be around – I hated him. I remember stabbing him in the eye with a pen as he sat on our sofa. My mind is blank as to watch happened next.

My father thought ok fresh start, another kid on the way maybe this could work. Until my sister was born my father looked at my wrinkly sister and had no doubts then, he gave her his surname actually believing my mothers lies. I was age 7.

I felt so helpless having no power to tell my dad the truth. My mother held all power, she held authority over all of us. While at school I’d forget the tangled situation of home until it I went home having to live it.

We stopped eating around the table, we didn’t play anymore with our parents, I had to help my mother with my brother, I was left alone watching tv for long periods while my mother napped and my father drank until he passed out.

 

We decided to move away seeing as we all wanted a fresh start as there was a new baby. Things were content for a while. I noticed my dad consume more alcohol than usual.

I was worried, very worried.

I looked out for my brother and sister. My sister was aged 8 months my dad went into melt-down as her hair was not like mine or my bothers it was afro-Caribbean textured. I believe that was the demise of my dad. Arguments broke out constantly, police visits occurred constantly. My mother’s promiscuity continued.

My sister was born in 1995. 1997 was the last time I saw my dad.

He left and never came back!

By that time, he was a chronic alcoholic. No one really supported him not even his family as he turned out to be an embarrassment.

Many injunctions were set on him in court to not come to the house, when he did my mothers boyfriends would beat him up! I’d scream crying as my dad was no match for them drunk. Before, when he could carry a car’s engine maybe he was tough then.

They had no mercy.

Maybe his violent language wasn’t great but we as children didn’t need to see that.

I felt abandoned & frightful. I didn’t feel secure with many different people being in the house. I constantly was on ‘autopilot’ in defence mode waiting for something bad to happen. On many occasions there would be fights, screaming, shouting, smashing of glasses, and banging of doors.  The smell of spilled whiskey & coke would swamp the home. My mother loved spirits two bottles could be consumed within one day, with the repeat pattern taking place the day after. Clouds of cigarette smoke would engulf the entire flat invisibly tarring our lungs…

Part 2 continues here https://theavengeruk.com/2019/02/03/real-stories-inside-the-social-care-system-how-my-loving-family-became-unrecognisable-part-2-anonymous/

 

In This Together – Anonymous

To my darling boy,

I couldn’t save you today. I couldn’t be there to hold you as the tears fell from your cheeks or make it all better.

Since you were a baby we knew you were different, I remember telling the doctor how hard it was to step into your world and how you wouldn’t let us in. The diagnosis of autism actually came as a relief in the end.

Things moved fast after that, school managed to put in place support, we learned how to communicate with you and how to help you feel safe.

However the one thing we couldn’t prepare you for is the heartache of watching your nursery friend now run off laughing with other friends as they look at you with pity, neither of you knowing how to step into each other’s worlds anymore.

Their needs and communication have now surpassed what you can offer and inevitably they have moved on.

You try and join in but it’s just too much, you cannot understand the invisible rules of making friends, it’s so hard and complicated and eventually you walk away lonely and heartbroken.

The world you were once a part of, the children you once called friends now moving further away as their understanding and expectations of what a friend is changes and you are just not able to keep up anymore.

I come up to you, I wipe away the tear and kiss your perfect cheek. I check my phone, no messages and just a Facebook update of a mum I used to spend time with, she is now busy with the other mum’s and it seems their children are all having a sleepover tonight and making cookies.

I silently say goodbye to yet another friendship and thank god you do not have social media yet.

I turn to you and tell you that I love you, that we will always be in this together.

I remind you that you have so much to offer this world, that you can point out the smallest detail in something that other people cannot see, you are loyal and focused when something interests you and because of that you will excel in your chosen field.

You rarely judge other people or get caught up in social expectations, you accept a person for who they are and would never lie or cheat them.

You are passionate, you live for the moment and despite common belief actually have the biggest heart I know!

But mostly importantly, you are unique and beautiful, and even the loneliest butterfly eventually spreads their wings and finds their place in this world.

In the meantime my darling boy I will always be there for you, we are in this together and I will always be your best friend.

I will help you understand this world and see the beauty within it.

I will teach you the things you struggle to see and together we will make sense of it.

I will forever walk by your side and you will forever have my love.

Love Mummy xx

A Desperate Plea From A Relative Of A Rough Sleeper By The Masked Avenger Anonymous

We have all walked past a rough sleeper on the street. Sometimes we give it a second thought. Sometimes we stop and chat, maybe even try to help.

But mostly we walk on by.

Most of us are fortunate enough to have never been there and while we sympathise, we often try and forget it and move on with our busy lives. Rushing to get somewhere; an appointment or some such.

We often don’t see the person beyond the sleeping bag. Sometimes it is very hard to imagine how someone got there. The government dehumanise rough sleepers. They advise us not to feed them as though they are pigeons in Trafalgar Square. They put spikes on floors to stop them being able to get some shelter in a shop doorway. Again treated like pests. So it’s no wonder that we walk on by. Sometimes it is a taboo subject.

But for me it is different. I happen to know a rough sleeper very personally.

You might want to ask me a few questions. Does anyone help him? Is he loved? Do you help him? The answer is yes. To all of the above.

But our help is not enough and the ‘why’ and the ‘how’ he gets into this position is what is complex.

My uncle has undiagnosed mental health conditions. He is an addict. Self medicating I guess. He has never had the support he needed from the professionals. And this is the product of years of neglect.

Born in the 60s to parents with severe mental health issues that lost everything down to gambling, my uncle was not diagnosed with anything himself or supported. Instead when the family broke down, my grandmother had a mental breakdown and no one was there to help. The authorities left my grandmother to it and just took my uncle away into care when he was 7. And that was the start of it. In and out of care. In and out of trouble.

” A handful, naughty, out of control, the mother can’t cope”

While he was in the place that was supposed to care for him, he was abused.

He went in as a child with problems and came out disturbed with even bigger problems.

No one knew what happened at the time. This is only a recent revelation. So he continued. In and out of trouble causing merry hell for the family.

As he got to adulthood he started to ‘self medicate’ and slowly but surely became an addict. Which led to petty crime, prison. And eventually being institutionalised .

“A write off'”

On paper yes. But what no one else saw was the snippets of the man he could have been if the support had been there during his childhood.

Detained at Her Majesty’s pleasure, he had structure, routines and he flourished. He took courses and passed them all. He read and learned and became a talented writer.

He did endless courses and took all of the opportunities he could. He grabbed them with both hands.So when he went back into the outside world he started his own business, he even wrote for a national newspaper as a regular columnist. He became a published author. Some semblance of a normal life was finally coming his way.

He was capable and intelligent and we could see the person he could become if he’d been given more support as a youngster.

But things happened and again the support fell away. Without the guidance of a probation officer, without the structure, his mental health problems that simmered under the surface reared their ugly, scathing, self destructing head again.

Addiction came back with a vengeance and along came some new ones too.

So we saw him slip back. He lost everything and again he went on the slippery slope into the abyss of addiction and self destruct.

So, we try to help as a family, but its not possible to keep an eye on him 24/7.

The downward spiral was and is fast and relentless;he loses touch of where he is and he ends up on the street. He loses contact with any kind of support network and before you know it he is sleeping rough.

We can’t track him. We don’t know where he is.

We’ve had phone calls in the past from wonderful passer bys that have tried to help him. In his moments of lucidity he remembers a number of a random relative and some very nice person decides to help him and calls.

We then hear he’s been in various places begging as he has lost everything. So we get there and we have to try and get him some help. He’s unwell and doesn’t know where he is. The police come and tell us not to bother with A and E as they are overcrowded but that they will try to help him.

Do you notice that even though I’m describing events in the past that I am using present tense? Why you might ask?

Because this is a recurring event. This happened last month but it could happen tomorrow, next week, next month. We never know what will happen next. This is the pattern that happens over and over again.

Services that are cut to shreds still try their best to help him. There are genuinely good mental health staff, hospital staff, police officers and key workers out there.

But it’s not enough.

The services need to be joined up. They need more funding to give him the intensive therapy and support for his mental health needs as this is the root to all of his problems, I believe.

But all that happens is the problem is treated that day. Acute support is given while he is physically unwell. But there is not enough in place to prevent this from happening again.

So I sit here and wonder what people must think when they walk past him. When he ends up on the street, bounding in and out of shops, trying to get someone to help him.

They will never see the man he can be. The man he has been, the man he could have been.

Every person has a story, but homeless people are nothing more than pests to the Tories.

If we followed the advice that they give us, which is to ignore a homeless person, don’t give them money or food; if every passer by that has helped my uncle thus far listened to this advice that this ‘government’ dish out my uncle would be dead by now. Perhaps that’s what they want. By treating homeless people like pests perhaps they think they will just die off.

But instead there are good people out there, people try to help. And for now he and we are riding our luck. That might just change one day. And we dread phone calls sometimes. What will happen next we just don’t know.

So I want to say to the people that help, the doctors, the nurses, the passers by, the staff in Pret that give out food, the key workers: Thank You!!!

Don’t ever change and maybe one day if we fight hard enough we will have a government that cares too so that real change can happen and people living in the streets being dehumanised by a callous government will be a thing of the past.

Should Abuse Ever Be Ignored? By The Masked Avenger Anonymous 

Author Anonoymous

Maybe ignored is not the right word but I am finding words so difficult right now. You see a really good friend of mine is struggling and I am broken watching what she is going through. She is in such a bad place and I can’t help her. In fact no-one can really help her though she should have had help 65 years ago!   

She is the reason I am now wondering if sexual abuse should ever be ignored.

I had such a black and white view of this until this week you know. I was one of those people who would want to kill a paedophile and would scream at the news in anger when child molestors were given short jail sentences. Child abuse is wrong. Sexual abuse is wrong. So why would anyone think it should be ignored? 

Well what if the victim had, after many years of recovering from a mental breakdown and hours upon hours of counselling, finally moved on from a very traumatic childhood. I was so proud of my friend for this. She had her life together finally. I watched as she raised her own kids and went on to have grandchildren. I mourned with her when her husband passed away and admired how she adapted to living on her own. She was settled, happy and well and then all of a sudden this week that changed and I am angry for her. 

You see I was with her when things changed. All it took was a phone call. I was in her house when her phone went and she questioned if it was a crank caller. I wish it had been, I truly do. I wish her phone had never rung. Out of nowhere she had a call from the police. Can you imagine watching daytime TV comfy in your reclining armchair having a cuppa and a scone and a natter with your friend and the police ring you and you have no idea what has happened? 

This is why I wanted to talk to you about child abuse and sexual abuse. This is why sometimes I wonder if it IS best ignored. 

My friend was abused as a child. We just don’t talk about it. We are the generation that sweeps stuff like that under the carpet and get on with our lives. Apparently someone else decided he or she could no longer do that and several months ago the children’s home my friend was in as a young child started to be investigated by the police for abuse. Yes it happened. No-one doubts that. But this was sixty plus years ago. Yes I know the perpetrators should never have got away with it but is it right that after almost seventy years things need disturbed? 

My friend wants her life back to how it was last week and she can’t now. The resurfacing of the past is destroying her. 
She asked me why someone would upset her like this? 

She wants to know why she should have to relive memories she wants to forget. She is old and tired and has reconciled her past. The people who abused her are long dead, so she assumes. Now my friend is so so sick. She can’t sleep, she is imagining all sorts and not eating. Why do that to someone who is in their seventies? 

What is being gained from digging up the past?

Hundreds of people are going through this now. Children’s homes, boarding schools, mental hospitals and so forth from the forties, fifties and sixties are all being investigated because of abuse of children and vulnerable adults. It was common place in our time. We all know it happened and it is shocking and awful. But when I look at the state of my good friend I am so worried about these investigations now. If the victims are past pensionable age what age are the abusers now? They will have lived life and many will have passed away. Even those who are still alive, is it worth jailing a 90 year old for something he did at 19?

I know for some finally seeing their abuser locked up may give them closure but what about the other victims who have had memories dragged back up and are now left alone, vulnerable and ill as a result of having to discuss things they had long buried and moved on from? 

While the State may end up looking after the abuser people like my dear friend have been left in a state. 

I tell my grown up kids that is something isn’t broken don’t touch it. Maybe I am old and old fashioned in my ways but I can’t help but wonder if there are times when abuse is best forgotten about or ignored. 

What if the trauma of all this kills my friend?

There is no punishment enough for that. 

An Open Letter To A Judge From A Victim Failed By The System By The Masked Avenger

Author Anonymous 


Dear ‘Your Honour’

I am writing to you because I want you to know how unjust the justice system really is. 

I am a rape survivor and I had to face the perpetrator in court. 

You will know all about the court and it’s processes being a judge and all. Anyway the point of this letter is for me to highlight to you the lack of support for rape victims.

First of all you have to fight so hard to even get to court. Most don’t even reach that stage. 

According to Rape Crisis England and Wales 1 in 5 women between the ages of 16-59 have experienced sexual violence at some point in their life. But only 15% of those actually report it to the police.

So reporting it and getting to Court is a massive hurdle overcome in itself. A hurdle that isn’t easy to overcome when you are recovering from the horror and trauma of rape itself.

Then comes the trial. It starts and you are made to watch your video evidence in full in front of a jury of 12 people.  

To relive every agonising moment, to hear the most personal and traumatic events replayed in front of a court full of strangers; to see their expressions, and reactions. Those people are considering everything about you’re future and with your fate in their hands.

The nerves that fill you up to the brim. Forget eating, sleeping or functioning.

A minute lasts all day.

I was given a room to wait in but when I went out of that room to the toilet I saw the perpetrators family and general members of the public who had come to watch the trial. 

Why are general public allowed?  

His family laughed when I gave evidence and NOTHING was done about that. 

The jury have to be 99.9 % sure of guilt or they have to acquit the accused. 

This is the case for all crimes, so why is the conviction rate for rapists so disproportionately low compared to other crimes?

The way the court deals with rape and abuse needs to be reviewed. So many rape victims don’t report the crime through fear of not receiving justice or support. And they  are right! 

According to ‘Amnesty’ a third of people believe that women who flirt are partially responsible for being raped!! 

There has to be a fairer way to hold trials. Something needs to change. There has to be more support for the victim. 

We need to have open and honest conversations about the way society views rape and how victim blaming is commonplace.

Simple little things like a separate toilet for people who are seated in the witness protection suite so we don’t have to face anyone we don’t want to see. It isn’t rocket science but it would make a massive difference to victims.

The pain lives on long after the decision of the court.

Please please hear us. 

Give us support and understanding. 

I know people have to have a fair trial but my trial was far from it and nobody stood up for me.

The decision on my case was a few years ago now,  but it never goes away, it never ends.

Yours sincerely 

The Masked Avenger 

I Am A Mental Health Worker And This Is A Letter To My Patients That I’ll Never Send By The Masked Avenger

Author Anoynmous

Dear Service User,

I am sorry I cannot offer more.

I am sorry I couldn’t call you back yesterday when you needed me and I am sorry I am not able to do more to help you.

I have worked in mental health for 10+ years and whilst I love my job it never gets any easier. 

I have books on my shelves and articles in files on the latest evidence based practice. I have ideas in my head for sessions we can do together and the passion to sit with you whilst we figure all this out. 

However, first you need to get to me and I need the time to deliver it all.

Referrals into mental health services are on the increase, this could be due to the ever growing pressures in society on everyone; from children to the elderly or the successful drive to normalize and promote mental health like never before, ripping down barriers and shouting from the roof tops that it is ok to not be ok.

So you gather the courage to call someone (which I know is so hard to do) and get help…

Unfortunately our pie is not getting any bigger, there is no more ‘money tree’ and we cannot afford anymore resources. So whilst we are able to see you, accessing treatment is entirely different. 
In the service I work in there are 30 practitioners for nearly 400 people on the waiting lists. No matter how you do the maths it is never going to fit. We try and change the service, we make it more lean, we shave things down to try and get everyone in but it is impossible. We have ideas of more we can offer but no money to fund it and no bodies to deliver it.

I want to see you straight away but there are hundreds of other people ahead of you.

I want to take it at your pace and see you for as long as it takes but I only have 8 sessions otherwise other people will have to wait longer. 

I want to be there to answer the phone straight away when you need me but I already have 6 other back to back appointments, before racing to collect my children from school. 

I constantly squeeze every drop of time to fit in more people but inevitably it all runs out as I cannot make 24 hours into 25. 

I want to offer you the therapy you need but no service, that I know of, is commissioned to offer it, which just really sucks.

I don’t know what the solution is but I want you to know that I am sorry because I feel just as frustrated as you. 

I know my boss, their boss and the bosses’ boss also constantly look for answers, but with an ever growing population and more needs becoming prevalent it is very hard. 

It’s not just us either; before, we could have referred you to other 3rd sector organisations which could have helped but they are just as squeezed as us and having to make equally hard and heartbreaking decisions. 

So please don’t be offended when we talk about self help materials or equipping you with the tools to help yourself, it is the only weapon I have at the moment to help you long after I have to reluctantly discharge and move on to the next case. 

Please don’t think I don’t care if my next visit isn’t for another 6 weeks, I hate this just as much as you do. I need you to understand that my intervention isn’t limited through choice , so all we can do in the short time we have is to teach you the skills I have to help yourself.

I need you to not miss any appointments as they count in my limited time and I need you to work with me as much as you can so that I can give you all I have. 

One day maybe we will have enough resources, but for now all I have is I am sorry!! 

We all deserve more than this, no one more than you. 
Please hang on in there, believe in yourself, take any support you can find and know that your wait isn’t because we don’t care, our pie just simply isn’t big enough.

From Your Practitioner. 

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