I went to Jill and George’s for the weekend after that, on their invitation, I got to the house and Jill and George had left the key for me as they were out somewhere, I heard that a message from Paul on the answer machine to Jill about me, Paul was not prepared to help me any more with finances, and his wife was kicking up a fuss about him involving himself, Paul wasn’t just someone who was helping with finances and letting me down, he was my friend and mentor, and I was deeply upset, I loved him as I loved George and Jill, I asked why this was happening and Jill said it was about Paul’s wife being worried he would have another breakdown, as he was another person who had had a breakdown not long before he retired.
George said it was because there were concerns about me and Paul being too close, I was furious and asked what the grounds for that was, George just said ‘oh, well we have seen things happen before in our old church’, and again I was furious, nothing had happened between me and Paul, in fact nothing had happened with my finances and debt situation that he had promised to help with by communicating with people for me about, by now the CAB were beginning to help me as Paul was not.
I was furious and hurt at George’s answer, and told him I was gay, I had made no seductive moves on Paul and would not dream of it, nor had he tried it on with me as far as I know, he came round later, bringing the paperwork that he had had for my finances and he didn’t even speak to me, he tried to get Jill and George to get me to go to a place in Somerset called CAP, to get help with my money, but the CAB were now helping me and I was not travelling all the way to a strange place with strange people on the advice of a man who let me down, I went round to Paul’s and threw the paperwork back at him in a temper, I never saw it again, and I returned £20 that Jill and George tried to lend me to go to the CAP place, because it was beyond my capabilities and I was very hurt.
These horrible, needless wounds and shame were inflicted on me by the Church of England and have remained with me as the Church of England destroyed me. These wounds have not gone but have been reinforced and reinflicted by the Diocese and Deanery, and there are undoubtedly other lone and vulnerable people wounded by the church but who have no voice, and are left suffering as I was.
I avoided Paul in church after that, I loved the church and the services, but the hurt of Paul was bad and coloured every service and every weekend with Jill and George and made our relationship more difficult. The last few times I have seen him he has seemed to think it alright to talk to me, but for me it still wounds me, though it is well forgiven, I avoid that place as all the wounds there still hurt me, though they are indeed forgiven.
Further rows came up when Jill said she hadn’t been talking to Paul about me previous to that incident, and I told her she had because I had heard the messages on the answer machine and seen his email to George about me. She tried to change what she was saying then and I was angry and said a naughty word, not at her but about what she had said and then changed, and I got into even more trouble with them later on for saying that word, instead of it being addressed then and there, I couldn’t get things right in that friendship, and I have always carried a burden of guilt and sorrow, and have now been condemned as wicked for what was an emotionally impossible relationship which was forgiven and forgotten.
The family in Weymouth were a troubled family, the man was a prison officer with a violent temper, the woman was a supermarket worker who did nightshifts, she had such a sweet honest face that I thought I could trust her, but they fought in the night when coming on and off shifts, their daughter had a ‘partner’ and a three year old girl who was looked after during the day by the supermarket worker mother, and they fought over the three year old because the grandmother treated her as if she was her mother and was possessive of her, the daughter was equally possessive but happy to relay the care of the child to her grandmother, then there was a grownup son who lived in the attic and had a girlfriend, it was hard for me to live in this house with all this unmarriedness going on, and then there was an 11 year old boy who was sweet natured and kind, and I worried for him because all around him was shouting, immorality and bad language, I remember listening in horror as this young boy’s adult brother called him gay repeatedly, and for no good reason, how can an 11 year old be gay? And how can someone call him gay when there is no reason to?
Anyway I was helping out in the kitchens of a private Boys School some evenings and that was starting to ease the problems, and I got a bit of food there and had nice colleagues, but I found it difficult, one of my extreme autistic reactions is to metal, stainless steel, pots and pans, knives, kitchen utensils, I find it hard to be near kitchen metals and the noise they make, which is why I use plastic cutlery and avoid kitchens, the other problem was getting the petrol to get to the school, it was only just profitable, and when it came to lambing time I simply had to give up.
It made me sad, the woman often had tears in her eyes from rows, the man was ferocious, and I was mildly reminded of JM’s niece and partner by them, partly the similar looks, the tears, and the rows. I started looking, with help, for a new lodgings, I was in Weymouth for between a month and 6 weeks, and had struggled badly to pay the rent and cope with finances and the difficult journey along a congested road to college every morning; it took an hour to get through the traffic from Weymouth to Dorchester in the morning, compared to an hour and a half journey up to Hampshire for weekends.
One day the man was endlessly angry, he kept shouting and he started shouting about me and calling me arrogant, saying that I was selfish because the 11-year old had offered to heat up some supper for me and I had absentmindedly said yes, not knowing he was eating his own supper at the time, the man was going on about the boy leaving his supper to get cold for my sake, I had no idea, and had simply said yes to the boy’s questions, and I am blind in that way, I want everyone to be happy and so I go along with things, but the man said the way I hardly spoke was arrogance – this isn’t the first time that has been said, and it breaks my heart, anyway he continued to be rude and insulting until I put him in his place, how does an autistic disturbed person stand up to an aggressive prison officer? Don’t ask! But I did. And he did know I was autistic by the way, the previous allegations of arrogance came from people who did not know. George Lihou reassured me on the phone that arrogant was the last thing I was, which was nice.
My new home in a village near Dorchester, a luxury compared to Weymouth, a room with a big double bed and a freeview TV, cupboards and surfaces to put things in and on, mirrors, soft bed, my own bathroom which was a really luxuriant one, I felt human again. Though the worst with Jill and George was yet to come, and the debt problem became immense, this home brought me comfort.
The house in Weymouth was a little terraced house in a grimy street in the rather rough tourist town of Weymouth, the new home was a nice quality detached house in a village 10 or 15 minutes from college, it was in a quiet cul-de-sac, and I was much better off being in a quiet house in a quiet street than in a chaotic house in a chaotic town.
My story seems extreme, but it is all true, I know that many abuse survivors and survivors of institutional abuse such as that in Ireland, can have trouble expressing their stories because the extremes are hard for a normal person to comprehend, and to be disbelieved or told your story isn’t credible is a terrible wound.