Once in the flat I realised that I was mistaken that I felt I had to see the doctor and take anti-depressants, I had been afraid through JM that if I didn’t then I would be in trouble, but the anti-depressants were doing nothing for me, and I did not want to see the doctor, I didn’t like him, so I stopped both, and the support worker told me that I may become weepy from stopping the drugs and that she would support me – which was a good attitude from her for once.
I had gained a pet rabbit while in the house, and now I gained another rabbit and two guinea pigs, the first rabbit was a big fierce buck which I name after FM, I thought it apt and my mum had had a rabbit with that name when she was a child, and the second rabbit was Blackberry – Berry for short, the Guinea pigs which were A&R’s Grandchildren’s and very old, were originally called Martha and squeak, but I renamed them after JM’s parents because they chattered to each other all the time at the tops of their voices. I was going to get a hamster and name it after JM’s sister, but that would be going too far!
I got to know S.L. through the Guinea pigs, several times when I had been past her house with JM and the dog, S would be out there putting newspapers in the bin, I was wary because of their surname, my parents had crossed swords with the same surname, probably not related, but one day I went round and asked S if there was any chance she could save some newspapers for me for the piggies, this was a big step for me, but she invited me in for a cuppa, and we became friends, she had me helping with her charity jam sales in no time,(for the hospice etc), and tremendous amounts of other things, she was a good friend and has gone, as have the others, through the church destroyal of me.
S. was a good friend, but her husband never really understood me, and though at one time I could sometimes stay over at S’s, M was not too comfortable with me, and no wonder, I am just not someone who can be normal and understood, but it doesn’t mean I don’t feel ashamed, I didn’t really ever fall out with them, I overstepped one boundary of going there before church one day when M. wanted some peace, but I learned from it, and I think I puzzled them by staying in bed with a burst hot water bottle one night, fear of the dark or fear of getting more cold if I moved I think.
I only ever loved and trusted them, until the church destroyed me, and though I stopped going to stay with them, I still stayed over with A&R until I knew A. was too ill, or stayed with R&S, now I have none of those friendships or stayovers, devastated by the church, unhealable wounds.
I have memories of many years of S’s special therapy for me, ‘the teapot’, a large pot of tea all laid out on a tray and a big long conversation where we would put the universe to rights. I would give anything to go back in time and have a teapot with my friend.
I was struggling in the flat because I couldn’t deal with the paperwork and housing benefit, I got very little in benefits and the housing benefit didn’t cover the whole amount of the rent, which was pretty steep because of the care component, despite the fact I wasn’t really getting any care, the paperwork ended up in a stressful mess with the shortfall from housing benefit not being met by my small amount of money left over after food and toiletries. But it was my first flat, and I was proud, my friends from church came round and celebrated and brought me presents. I got the flat looking all nice.
I was brought a word processor, a pot plant, furniture, all sorts of things, and I was proud of the flat and the work I did to make it a home, but the flat was connected to the house and things were far from peaceful, Jo continued to be a pain, and her ‘friends’ were equally unhelpful, some of them thought they could walk through my flat to get to the house, with no apology, I remember being furious and throwing a woman out who was rudely insistent that she could walk in my patio doors and through my flat one night and tried to barge me out the way when I said no, if this sheltered house was supposed to help me progress from my bad start in life, it wasn’t achieving that.
Jo’s ‘friends’ would also come and park right in front of the flat despite loads of parking in front of the house, they would sit outside in their cars with the engines running and the headlights on full beam at night so I got no peace, they would park right up to the flat blocking the doorway, and generally ruining the peace, asking the support worker to do something achieved nothing.
JM came round one day when I had been bothered by these people continuously for some time and I was raging mad, she stayed but was not a great help and added to the problem because FM kicked up a huge fuss about JM staying to talk to me, JM is her own person, but FM loses his temper if she stays too long anywhere in the evening, and he loses his temper with people who she is with to help, when I was in college and JM would stay and talk to me, I bore the brunt of FM’s wrath, despite it being up to JM, not me, how long she stayed.
JM called herself my adoptive mum, but she didn’t officially want to be known as such, and over the years my reference to her as mammy or mum phased out voluntarily, though I still saw her as an adoptive mother, and on mother’s day I would get her a card or a present, and I would take her the posy from church, one day I was given the posy at L. church and I took the posy over to the rectory for JM, possibly with a note or a card as JM was at S. church.
FM raged and raged at me, and I ended up in floods of tears on the floor of S. church, with JM comforting me, I loved her, I was expressing that love, I was smashed down for it, JM was the one who had said she was the adoptive mum, she was the one who had involved me with her family, and in the end she was the one who was telling me she was a friend and telling her family I was ‘part of her work’, even though her ‘work with me’ included and was exclusively in the end, her interference behind my back, without my consent and ill informed, in my life. For my benefit? To date no benefit has come of her unauthorized interference, and harm certainly has.
(excuse that anger, these wounds are real and I usually shut them out).
Back to the story: The support worker wasn’t always better than the residents, she certainly wasn’t a role model, she had had a son when she was 16 and his father left her, her son had grown up wild, she told him that he could do as he liked as long as he told her, she took me out for a drive one day, she stopped to enquire about a car that was for sale, and afterwards she told me she had been more interested in the man who owned the car than the car, she had a swish little convertible car herself.
This kind of thing continued when she ‘rescued’ a girl who she said was in slavery because this disabled girl worked full time and went home and handed her wages over to her parents every week, when this girl arrived she was sickeningly thin, you could see every bone in her body, literally, and she wore a thin greasy pony tail, she cut her hair to look like mine, and got glasses, she seemed as if she was my age, but actually she was in her 40s and an albino, but guess what? She dyed her hair brown, I thought nothing of her changing her appearance when she arrived, she started wearing similar clothes to me, and also turning up where I went sometimes, though she never came to church as Jo did.
The support worker would take this girl and me out for drive, after a drive where we whistled at men and made rude jokes and the girl got a toy man that you pressed something and he dropped his trousers and similar rude things, I decided that I didn’t want to be part of this anymore, and I told them that I was gay, the support worker gave me a big sisterly hug and congratulated me and they went for the rude drives and sat in the office laughing together without me. The girl told me that the support worker was her mother, though they were similar ages, and this gruesomely reminded me of me and JM.
MF, the woman I had stayed with briefly when I left college, thanks to JM, seemed to think she could counsel me, but she was not a trained counsellor, I don’t know if she is now, but she wasn’t then, and her ‘couselling’ of me added to my problems, when she would invite me round I would go expecting to have a cup of tea with her and her husband, but I barely or didn’t get to say hello to her husband, which was a pity as he was a cheerful jokey man, MF would take me to her workroom, sit me down and sit opposite me, she would then try to get me to talk, this was the usual disaster, talking in a formal setting back then was not within my capabilities, and not only that, MF did not know what she was doing and as well as having JM’s incorrect opinion of me, was causing me problems.
This ‘counselling’ went on for a few years and among the upsets were MF trying to tell me that because I was a woman I should not be doing the heavy work I was doing, this really undermined and upset me, I was not very self-confident and the industry is a tough one but God blessed me with unnatural strength and also autism, which leaves me limited to working in the landbased industries, but this woman who was really dainty and ‘got the men to do the work and behave like men’ while being prissy and getting attention that way and was trying to force her own views of life on me, and this was adding to my disturbance and problems, I know she is or was a parish visitor, and maybe this is where she felt she had lease to treat what I wanted to be a friendship as a counselling relationship without explaining properly or entering into a counselling contract with me, anyway, because she told me that what I told her was confidential.
I told her about FM abusing me, at a time when the memories of the abuse and JM rubbishing it, where troubling me, I do not know if it was that or whether it was ******becoming my counsellor or whether it was me telling A. that I was not comfortable with the MF’s arrangement, but she stopped ‘counselling’ me, turned me away, and started counselling JM, and at some point I think she may have counselled the ‘Hypochondriac couple’, but I do remember being turned away when I went to see her, never any explanation, she also had an odd habit of always giving me fruit at the end of the ‘counselling’ and saying ‘vitamins in skins’. (Not my best vitamins as I cannot digest most fruit very well and usually bring most of it back up). But the relationship was based on what she thought was best.
(welcome to the Church of England).