Who are you?
I'm Leah, i'm 17.
Well, things haven't been easy from the offset. It's by no means the worst story you'll ever hear, but I think a lot of people could relate and need a little encouragement that things CAN and DO change.
So i'll start from the beginning with my mother, as a child she didn't have an easy life either, physically abused and made to care for her younger sister but in a middle class household, they had the money to afford things but my mother didn't get jack shit. She worked from the age of 14 in a job she hated, her wages were all taken off her by her parents. Any little thing her sister did, she would get the blame for. Her dad wouldn't, not a chance in hell, fund for her to go to University. She flunked school with bad grades. She eventually got away but had no money whatsoever, meeting my biological father and conceiving me at the age of 21. My sister came along about a year and a half later and about 2 years after this, my biological father fucked off to disneyland. Literally. He and my mother were in serious debt, every day she had bailiffs knocking on the door, demanding money from debts that HE had built up and run away from. He came back a year later, claiming her fell in love with some chick there (I was about 5), but that didn't last long and he was living in the UK permanently again after a while.
They divorced, my mum fell out of love with him after a number of things happened, including her walking into him dressing up in her clothes as his secret guilty pleasure. The problem with this, was that we were left with all his shitty debt. We got a council house that was overrun with insects and ants, the Christmas that year was spent in darkness after a powercut and we received second hand toys that a woman had given my mother out of kindness (she always looked after us and our happiness was her number one priority).
At this point, she was living off a slice of bread a day, our clothes were second hand and old, we lived off minimal food in a leaking, disgusting house. The bailiffs continued to arrive at our door, demanding the exhusbands debt and other men whom the ex had owed money threatened my mum with physical violence.
Eventually we got to move to a different flat, a much, much nicer one, it was a Godsend. We still had little money, my mum had faith in God though and prayed someone would help a few weeks before christmas, a sack of designer kids clothes in the right sizes turned up outside our door, a woman from down the road had found pity for us and bagged them up as they no longer fit her children. The generosity of the people at church kept my mum going, they were always bringing helpful things round.
My auntie lived above us with an abusive boyfriend, she lived in fear of being killed literally EVERY day. Around this time, my mum also met my current father and after a few years whilst my aunties abusive boyfriend was out, they gathered as much stuff as they could and fled to my father's house in a different town. We lived there for years, helping my auntie to get her own place, they lived secretly under false names to avoid him finding them. My Dad's generosity was unbound then, all the money he had saved up for years he gave to us to help, he looked after us and bought us clothes, everything we needed. At this point, we recieved a letter in the post from my biological father who said, in not so many words, that he was leaving us and that he no longer wanted anything to do with us, and that if we wanted to find him when we were 18, we could. My mum and current father got married a short while afterwards and had my brother, and after which we moved back to the town we left in our own house (our old house was haunted...). We weren't poor, we had a comfortable amount of money without being rich by any means. We sorted out the house, redecorating every room and tried to make a new life for ourselves.
So that brings me up to about 11 years old, at which my dad was just starting up his own handyman business, it was going pretty awesome too with him building quite the good reputation in our area. MY mum started a degree to become a teacher, finally something she could do well. She felt happy for the first time in years and is now a fully qualified teacher, the sole breadwinner in the house.
One day, around 2003 he went up to the loft to fix it up a little, when the trapdoor fell onto his head, leaving him unconscious for about an hour (unbeknown to us). He began experiencing black outs and memory problems almost immediately, he had to quit the business and stay at home because he couldn't cope anymore and he sunk into a depression once more. His symptoms were all consistent with Multiple Sclerosis, yet the doctors still haven't diagnosed him, he becomes more and more frustrated all the time and was (and is) in constant pain. My brother soon after, was diagnosed as having ADHD which didn't help in the slightest.
Now, in the present day, he takes out his anger and depression on his family. The outside world sees a happy, smiling yet disabled figure, his family see the angry and constantly stressed side of him that is slowly tearing the family apart.
He blacks out often, moreso when he's tired, often for half an hour or more and we can't wake him up. Often this happens in public and he'll just stand, swaying backwards and forwards, countless times i've stood with an arm either side so he doesn't fall and cause himself more damage.
He claims he does all the housework, that my mum never does anything and tells anyone that will listen about these problems that he has, he's managed to convince anyone who will listen that we can't understand his problems and that we don't support him. However, some friends of the family are coming round to the fact that it isn't the case, many have approached my mum about it. For example, they'll ask my Dad how my mum is after her illness, he'll say somehting like 'She's fine, but i'm having terrible problems with...' and then continues to talk about himself. One or two of them have seen him snap and scream at usually us, or another unfortunate being, and realise that there's a lot that the public don't see.
My sister antagonises him a lot and it really doesn't fucking help, but no matter how many times she's been talked to she won't change her attitude, she hates him for treating her like that for most of her life and her self esteem is so low, she thinks she's ugly and stupid and projects that onto him. He then lashes out again, he screams at her a lot and threatens to walk out all the time. It's very, very rare that we'll have a day where he's happy and doesn't shout for a whole day, and I mean VERY rare, maybe once or twice a year at best. Some days start off ok but gradually transcend to him shouting at everyone but most days start with him in a bad mood. I stay out as much as I can usually, or at least stay out of his way and just do what he tells me to, it's easier that way.
My parents nearly divorced in April and things are still rocky, he sees a Neurologist in November which my mum said is the final chance, if nothing changes then she'll be making arrangements for us to move out or for him to leave. She's told me in confidence that had she the funds, she'd have walked out with us before christmas. She's been saving for a while now but money is still pretty tight. She's fallen out of love with him but still cares, she can't leave him because we'll have nowhere to go and it looks terrible, it looks like she's leaving him because of his disability when the reality of it is,he's made homelife unbearable and stressful all the time. I feel like my grades have suffered because of this.
My mum is now constantly stressed, she's tired all the time. I try and help out, make dinner and clean but at the end of the day she just wants out now.
As for me, I got bullied a LOT at school, I wasn't particularly liked no matter how much I tried to make friends, everything from physical to verbal bullying because I was intelligent and wore glasses. This was from about the age of 10 til 13.
How did you take this?
Well... there's a lot there that I haven't mentioned, the culmination of things led to me feeling quite low, low self esteem and stressed. As I was young for much of this it affected me in ways that I don't fully know, my character has changed through it.
The current affairs I first took with shock.
Are you dealing with it, have you already dealt with it?
I've pretty much been desensitized to the divorce idea. We've been pushed away that fucking much that I don't care if my dad moves out - a calm and relaxing environment is exactly what I need. Instead, being shouted at and put down constantly doesn't help - I'm under pressure to achieve and it's pulling me down. I feel down a lot and my self esteem is pretty low but I want and need to achieve so I don't end up in the same position as my mum. That's how I feel.
I feel resentment towards my brother and dad, my brother gets away with a hell of a lot of shit and my Dad's usually the one that lets him get away with it. It feels as though my Dad favours my brother as his biological child, and now it's obvious that he's trying to side him, he does a lot with my brother that he won't with my sister and I, swimming club, cinema trips, takes him out with friends, yu-gi-oh club, drum lessons etc. He tells my brother that he'll do those things because my mum's 'too busy to ever do it'.
I just as mentioned above, stay out of his way. I do what he tells me to and stay out of the house a lot, i'd rather not have that bring me down.
Advice for anyone?
You childhood may be difficult, it might seem like there's no light at the end of the tunnel and it might feel like the world is against you, but don't ever give up. You can make something of yourself and make something of your life, you can get out of the shithole and live your life how you want it, give your kids the life you never had. Giving up won't get you anywhere, don't listen to those that put you down because at the end of the day, they have their own issues. There's always someone to talk to and there's always someone that cares.
Sorry for the long ass post, I've never told anyone and needed to get it off my chest tbh.