Domestic Violence, bullying and psychological abuse – or “Sweep it under the carpet”
I am going to tell you about something which I have experienced in my life.
As I am writing this I am still afraid. I am still afraid that the person who I am afraid of will read this blog.
That person is my younger brother.
He first used domestic violence against me when I was breastfeeding my son. I told no-one at the time. He was 17 years old when my son was born. I don’t know how old he was when that happened because I breastfed my son for a long while. My son and I were living with my father and mother. I think he wanted to borrow some money and I may have said no.
My brother went to college to study music for four years. He still visited to see my mother.
My father had early onset Alzheimers. He had to give up work in 1988 because of what we thought was memory loss brought on by stress. My mother told me he was ill in 1991.
At the end of the summer of 1992 my son was born. Having him filled me with joy. He made Mum happy too. She did not criticise me for having a child and not being married etc and she was thrilled. She called my son her little blessing. Tinged with happiness was the sadness of my dad’s deteriorating condition. Around six months after my son’s birth my dad was hospitalised. It was only supposed to be for two weeks. He never came home.
In 1988 the year my dad left work, my brother was 13 years old. I was 22. I had been lving with my boyfriend and when we split up I returned home. I started experiencing difficulties at work. Then my father’s father took ill, was hospitalised and died. So my father was only just sick off work. When Grandad died my father showed no compassion towards my Grandmother which was strange because it was so unlike him. He couldn’t help his sister, Mum and his brother-in-law with the funeral arrangements. It was very sad.
My mum was very stressed, undertandably.
There was alot going on in the following months so eventually I moved out and stayed in a hostel. I was hoping to get a flat and make a new start in my life.
Alone in my flat I got very depressed. I bought medicines to take all at once in the hope it would take me out of my misery and end my life. I felt worthless. I spoke to no-one about this. I tried swallowing a soluble mix of a certain drug. I couldn’t swallow it, I kept gagging.
I was disappointed with myself.
But also I was very frightened.
My oldest brother had been visiting me and tried to help me in his own way. He lived not far away and visited me on a weekly basis I think. Then he went abroad for two weeks.
When he returned I pretended I was not in.
Someone eventally called the police. They were going to break my door down so I opened it. I visited my Mother’s house because the police told me she was worried. I had no phone.
I stayed the night on one occasion around that time. Then I found some of my mother’s medication. I took it hoping to die once again. the next day I was still alive but I looked drowsy and my eyes looked strange. I was kept in hospital overnight and referred to a psychiatrist. A really nice psychiatric social worker at that time, filled me in on how painful it is to die with certain drugs and how it can take three days etc. I took this on board.
The family doctor told mum my suicide attempt was “a cry for help”. She told my mother not to let me live at home. I tried throwing myself down the stairs. I was too much of a chicken though.
Eventually I returned to live with my mother, father and younger brother.
I am giving you this background because I am also aware that my mental health issues have had an impact on my family.
The domestic violence with my brother only began after I had my baby. My younger brother was 17. He was also stealing off myself and my mother. At 19 he went to University/college to study music.
When I was 27 and my son was 1 years old I started attending a Pram Club run by the local church. The church was affiliated with an excellent primary school. The ladies there encouraged me to keep going and the bonus was my son would attend the local church school.
I became particularly close with three really nice women. Once a week we met up at each other’s houses with our children.
Then out of the blue my brother, who was home from College, one night he stood on my hand. The next day there was a big bruise on my hand of the inprint of his shoe which was ridged underneath. He had shouted at me and said I was recording over one of his video-tapes, which I wasn’t.
My close friends noticed this and were worried about me. I later passed him on the Lane and asked him why he did it. He said he didn’t know and seemed quite emotional.
I carried on as usual.
Moving on to 1995. I started college to try to achieve a-level standard in maths and english as I was interested in studying psychology. I met someone there and started dating for the first time in over four years. I went into a depression for various reasons after three months of college. I felt depressed partly because I couldn’t cope with the maths or the english. I had been in the top stream for both at secondary school so it was disappointing. I lacked confidence in those abilities which are so important for further education and for hopefully getting a job in which one is interested.
With this in mind my relationship with the man I met at college continued. Then I started taking S.S.R.I’s. I didn’t notice any improvement in my mood.
My relationship with my younger brother played in the background. He continued with his unpleasant attitude towards me. He called me nasty names.
I told my boyfriend and he said he would confront my brother. I asked him not to as I feared it might escalate and make things worse.
Though I found him controlling at times and I though I unsure in that relationship with my boyfriend – I married him. On our “honeymoon” he punched me on the nose. After two weeks I left him. During that time I asked my Mother for help and told her there were problems. She couldn’t cope. She didn’t want to help me. My brother was violent and aggressive towards me whilst my mother was at church. A neighbour saw him kicking me outside the house and she gave me a lift in her car to remove me from the situation. She is an occupational therapist.
I went back to the flat I shared with my husband and my son.
One day, not long after, in fact it was night-time, I phoned the Samaritans whilst my husband and my son were asleep. I talked for a long time in hushed tones. That Samaritan gave me the courage to find the keys (because the door was locked and my husband had them) pack a few essentials, and when morning came I slipped out of the house with my son. I went to the local office for the homeless. They housed myself and my son in a hostel.
My husband stalked me. He couldn’t accept that for me our relationship was over.
It was a few weeks later that I was assessed by a psychiatrist. I was having a breakdown. The anti-depressants might have had a role in that because they can make some people mmore manic. At the time I wasn’t taking them though. I think I saw the psychiatrist in the July of 1996. I was diagnosed with bipolar affective disorder. My younger brother was still behaving violently and aggressively towards me during that time whenever I saw him.
I was sectioned in the September. I spent 10 weeks in hospital. I was on Lithium, also an anti-epelepsy drug and eventually chlorpromazine.