extreme

An Exasperatingly Extreme Exhausting Existence

teenagersI’m exhausted.  The cause – me and my extreme existence.  I should stop there because that sounds as if my life is full of adventure and excitement!  It has moments of both, but it feels more extreme in it’s stresses.  I’m hoping by writing what’s in my head, I’ll become untangled from it.

There is so much going on that I feel trapped with.  The feeling throughout my body is ‘I hate my life’.  I hate my life.  But that’s a secret.  One I wish had been kept from me too.  But no, everything’s got to be laid out on the table and psycho-fucking-analysed.  Not much is allowed slip by.  No-one is perfect but how many live under such extreme self scrutiny?  Surely it’s not meant to be so intense?

 crazy eyes GIF

It’s the very basic things that I’m fed up with.  Combined with all the little things playing ‘pile on’, I get to feeling like I might explode into a billion pieces.  And I see little peace from life in the near future.

I love Jessie, my family, and all the people in my life, and I enjoy my volunteering and study.  These things give me temporary relief, but as I said, it’s the basic things I’m hating.  Like where I live and the attitude from our community housing provider I have to live with.  I have to suck it up that we live in a place that is not maintained, or cleaned properly.  I reported the extreme stench of our bins, and the fact that the garbage rooms are never cleaned.  The place is only mopped about once a month, leaving the floors smelling worse then the bins.  But I’m told it’s all of an ‘acceptable’ standard.  I wish I could get paid enough to buy a brand new BMW by doing an ‘acceptable’ job.  Or work in the office of Link Housing – they don’t even reach that standard!!

I can never get hold of our housing manager, and she has returned my calls on extremeone occassion only.  Emails I’ve been sending in about a car parked in our driveway adding to the safety hazard – ignored for the last two months.  The last time I was on holidays up north, I’d rung after a leak in the roof had damaged my wall making the paint bubble and peel and the carpet discolour. My request to have it repaired had gone ignored and I was chasing it up.  How dare I!  I was asked by the staff member in a holier than thou tone, “Do you have a roof over your head? Do you have electricty? Do you have water?”!  I made a formal complaint about her.  Didn’t ever hear back.

We have dead gardens and the grassy areas are nothing but weeds.  I told them the gardeners rarely come, and all they do is mow when they do come.  But I’m told we have the same gardeners as another block where the gardens are beautiful, and that they come every two weeks to tend our gardens.  I was the second tenant to move in here, but hey, what do I know?!  I only live here!  We are the newest block in the street, and the most dishevelled after only six years. It’s embarrassing.  But the attitude is that we’re all shitkickers, not entitled to anything better than acceptable, or entitled to a voice – the very thing I can’t stand!!

What amazes and angers me is that it’s so often those claiming to be caring and advocating for those in need, that treat those they advocate for with such disdain and discrimination.  And because I do have a voice, I’ve earned myself a bad extremename at Link.  I could easily write a book with all the stories from living here over the years!  But in keeping with the integrity of Link Housing, when I asked the CEO who their governing body was, he told me the it was their ‘skills based Board’ and provided me the Chairpersons email.  My query as to how they can be governed by themselves has gone unanswered.  I would’ve thought that if a tenant asks, they’d be obliged to give a truthful answer.  I really can’t stand being treated like an idiot, but it comes with living in my world unfortunately.

The chief assets manager did call me yesterday and she’s coming out to meet with me on Thursday with the assets manager and the CEO.  She tells me that it is their responsibility to keep on top of everything here, and they plan to improve their processes, but I’ve heard the second part of that sentence before. We’ll see…

I’m also struggling with accepting events of the past.  The position Jessie’s in is a extremeconsequence of my choice in men. I know all the positive thinking tools. And I know I need to be compassionate and forgiving towards myself to be able to move forward.  However I feel like I’ve gone full circle, and am back at the point of knowing my choices are the reason Jessie has so many problems.  In reality, how can anyone really forgive themselves for their child being sexually assaulted by an ex?  If I was healthier in my mind, she wouldn’t have been assaulted because I wouldn’t have chosen him.

Seeing Jessie so happy after her social get togethers last week, did create a spark in my heart and did give me some relief.  Unfortunately the day to day picture quickly put that spark out.  Our normal is so far off most people’s and I’m finding myself wishing for a different existence.  I feel like I’ve lived in some kind of dysfunction for most of my life.  Things were supposed to settle as I got older, but that hasn’t been the case.

Jessie’s a very intelligent girl, but today she dropped her electives, so is only doing core subjects in middle school.  This leaves her ineligible to go on to Yrs 11 & 12, although she plans on going to TAFE next year.  I’m really worried she’ll struggle with a full workload, as she’s not used to it.  My fear is if she doesn’t want to put the effort in she’ll give it up, and then we’re in trouble.  I know there’s no point worrying about the future, but it’s much easier said than done.

I’ve brought a child into the world who is constantly telling and showing me how much she hates herself.  She doesn’t have much care about her cleanliness or appearance.  Her room is disgusting. She’s blamed me, having shouted at me that I shouldn’t have fucked her father.  What do you say to that?!

As her mum I’ve failed to keep her safe and I know I’ll only be able to forgive myself if she has a contented life.

Then there are the ‘pile ons’

I’m owed over $27 000 in child support arrears, and this financial year owed a paltry $8 per week to contribute to Jessie’s upbringing.  It’s insulting. I’d rather not get anything.

extremeI want out of city living, but I know I’ll never be able to afford to move to the country.  That has to remain just a dream.  I want out of Link Housing, but I can’t afford full rents.

People are not my favourite species.  I’m sick of most people.  So many are arrogant, self centred, unkind, cruel and rude.

It’s been two and a half months since I quit smoking but I’m still having the vivid, extreme dreams.  I wake up feeling like I’m ready for bed.

I could go on but it’s all just whingeing.  So many things are aggravating me that I’m deep breathing so much I’m making myself dizzy.  I fear my head’s likely to explode.  Or I could quite possibly go mad…that sounds more fun.

extreme

 

violent teens

Handling Aggressive or Violent Teens

violent teensParenting a teenager is a whole new life experience. Particularly for parents who face aggressive or violent teens when they are disappointed or challenged. If you are one of these parents, believe me, you are not alone. There are many mums and dads struggling, faced with the same behaviours in their teens. It’s an issue that affects families from all walks of life and economic backgrounds. Coming to know these truths prompted me to write this blog. The following paragraph from this article in the SMH explains so perfectly what often happens:

“The first act of violence, parents are so shocked and taken aback they don’t know how to respond,” Ms Howard said. “It escalates to the point where parents are too intimidated and scared to stop the behaviour.”

violent teensThe article says that psychologists and researchers have found this behaviour linked to a sense of entitlement and ‘cotton wool parenting’. While I don’t disagree with that, many other factors can play a role as well. For many, mental health issues and the inability to cope with thoughts and emotions are the cause. I’m writing from the latter angle.

In our case, my daughter, Jessie, went from being a confident, happy kid, to being volatile and unpredictable. Her friendships were becoming fractured. Her tolerance for disappointment or discipline was no longer existent. It was extremely shocking and confronting! I couldn’t understand why my violent teenparenting methods were no longer working. Neither did I understand why her reactions were so intense. I was living on eggshells, afraid to parent and at a loss. Jessie was ruling the roost with anger and violence. (No pun intended!) Things needed to change because it wasn’t any way to live for either of us. With support and learning though, homelife is way more peaceful and connected these days.

As a loving and responsible parent, safety for everyone must be paramount. Our boundaries around safety in the home need to be made clear to our teens. Consequences also need to be made clear, and we must be consistent in upholding them. Physical violence and destruction of property need a no tolerance attitude. Police should be called if your teen is acting out in a way that poses a serious risk to themselves or others. As harsh as that may sound, the fact is that violence and physical abuse isn’t acceptable behaviour, or appropriate coping mechanisms. Those are rules of life. Better our kids learn that before adult consequences come into play.

While we are standing firm on the no violence rule, we need to give another outlet. My daughter punched her pillows and screamed into them. If you’ve got violent teenspace, hang up a punching bag that your teen can take their rage out on.

As parents we can do a lot to help as well. By modelling the behaviour we want to see, we show them how it’s done, as well as demonstrating that we are strong and capable of dealing with whatever they bring our way. Teens feel safer knowing we are their rock.

Communication plays a huge role in dealing with aggressive and violent teens. Effective use of it can de-escalate the situation before things become out of control and police are required. Read my article here about communication holding the power for attaining peace. Like changing any habits, it takes practice before it comes second nature, but the pay-offs are well worth it.

What teens are throwing out to us, mirrors what is happening with them. If we can remember that they’re hurting and/or really not liking themselves, and try not to take things to heart, we can provide the best support. I think it’s important we tell them how their words or action affect us, so they learn about others emotions. However it’s most effective to stay calm and don’t react in the same ways they are.

Try and see humour whenever you can, to give you a giggle on the inside. A couple of weeks ago Jessie came home annoyed and yelling at me. When I told her it upset me when she spoke to me that way, and she replied “well I’m sorry you’re the only one here for me to take it out on!!” I burst out laughing (NOT in the good parenting book), so had to take myself off to the bathroom. I still find it amusing. The apitome of teenage thinking!

If you need help:

ReachOut.com Australia runs a FREE, flexible coaching course for parents to help us help our teens, with whatever the issues are. You need a computer and a phone, and 90 minutes for the first session. You can however make use of up to an additional three, one hour sessions. Click here for more info or to register.

ReachOut.com also runs a forum which is a supportive community of parents needing assistance or offering advice, learned from experience. If you’re feeling isolated, you will find others going through similar things, which can be therapeutic in itself. You can check out the forum here.

violent teens

rape

Rape: Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

rapeI’m being brave. I’m sure some of you will wonder why I’m sharing this. Why would I want anyone to know? Your rape and trauma stories aren’t something you share with everyone. A big part of me agrees with you, for reasons I’ll explain, but part of me wants to challenge that. I read so many blogs where amazing people share openly and honestly about themselves. I admire them so much, and I take something away from each one I read. Yet for me, I have a different mindset.

That different mindset is what tells me these are dirty secrets, shrouded in shame, blame and guilt. After the rape in 1994 I believed it was my fault. I must’ve done something wrong for this to happen. My belief was that everyone would think that too. All it took was one person to ask “why didn’t you…blah blah?”, and it confirmed that belief to myself. It was this second assault that cemented the belief, and made me believe there also had to be something wrong with me.

I’d been diagnosed with Depression after the rape. The PTSD diagnosis was given after the assault. In 2015, Major Depressive Disorder diagnosis, due to a colourful mix of things I’d say!

In 1997 I was held up at gunpoint at my front door. It was late one Friday night, after I’d come home from studying after work. My friends dropped me around the corner and I walked home as usual. I lived in a dark, old unit block, with no light in the small entrance-way. As I was putting my key into the lock, I felt cold metal against the back of my head. I froze. I knew it was a gun against my skull. A man told me not to scream and to open the door. We got inside, and he told me he would shoot me if I didn’t *have sex* with him.

I was in a state of terror and panic, but I was NOT going to allow anyone to rape me again. Quoth the Raven “NEVERMORE.”

rapeNot knowing what to do, I spun around grabbing at the gun. I don’t really remember what happened in the struggle, but I was pushed down onto the lounge. I remember him saying to me, “so you gonna fuck me now”, with the gun pointed at me again. Strangely feeling at peace, I told him no, that he’d have to shoot me. I believed I was going to die. I waited for what felt like forever, however probably only a split second, for him to pull the trigger. When he didn’t, I screamed like I’m sure I never have before.

The next thing I knew the Police were there. My upstairs neighbour who I’d never met, had called them when she heard me scream. What she told Police, and told me later, has stuck in my mind. She’d rung because she’d first thought it was me laughing (I can be loud), but realised very quickly that I wasn’t. She said she knew something was very wrong. I’ve always hoped she’s had some fabulous karma come her way. I’ve experienced humans turning a blind eye. I didn’t expect anyone’s help.

rapeI wasn’t in a good way. I’d been sure I was going to die. But I was still alive. I was seeing faces. I was in a state of shock I think. The Police rang a really close friend who lived a few streets up. My dear friend, the Beer Fairy, came and picked me up and I stayed the night there. She sat up and had a few stiff drinks with me before bed. Work the next day was looming. On Saturday’s I managed the clinic that my friend managed during the week, so she was going to come in with me. I didn’t want to go, but she wasn’t going to allow me to fall in a heap.

Sleep wouldn’t come. Every time I closed my eyes I saw faces. The dark was messing with my mind. Fear took over. I was never more grateful to see the morning light. And never more grateful for my Beer Fairy.

To cut a long story short, it turned out to be another close friend of ours from work who did this. Police searched his house but no weapon could be found. I was advised to stay away from him. Rather difficult when you work at the same college and need to interact with each other. I’d freeze with a feeling of fear and dread whenever he came into the office. I didn’t even have to see him, however that feeling would take over and I knew he was there. I loved that job, and was half way through a Diploma of Homoeopathy, but had to walk away.

Not long before I resigned, I also moved out of my unit. I’d begun leaving my blinds down all the time as I was seeing faces in the windows. I didn’t feel safe there anymore.

20 years later I now understand PTSD. I’ve been putting all my symptoms down to being weak and pathetic for a long time. Jessie’s diagnosis started my education. I can recognise her symptoms. I wouldn’t ever say she is weak or pathetic! Or anyone else with it either. And I thank my fellow bloggers for making me think maybe I’m not either! It won’t change how I live my day to day life, but I certainly understand myself a lot better. Maybe I’ll start being a little kinder to myself. I know why I have the mental struggles I do. I know why going anywhere for the first time alone, sees me waking every hour from 3am, freaking out about going. It’s an effort to push through, and something no-one sees.

Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!”
Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.” – Edgar Allen Poe

I choose to challenge the Raven, like all the other bloggers I admire. Hopefully Jessie will see that she is a lion too.

A lion is stronger than a Raven… 

rape

sex culture

Society’s Abysmal Sex Culture

sex cultureThe motivation for this article on sex culture comes after watching a USA documentary called ‘Audrey and Daisy’. It tells the separate stories of two young teenage girls who were raped and filmed by their male ‘friends’ while passed out, intoxicated. The footage was then shared around. These poor girls were vilified by their peers and on social media. Audrey committed suicide at 15. Daisy survived her many suicide attempts and now advocates for other survivors. This heartbreaking story really made me think about our society’s sex culture and the major flaws in our legal system.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there were 21 380 victims of sexual assault, including rape, recorded by police in 2015. This was a 3 percent increase since 2014. 93 percent of victims are female. In 2013, NSW alone saw 3,951 sexual assaults reported to police. In the same year 715 people were charged and 315 were found guilty – a 52 percent conviction rate. Out of those 315 found guilty, only 168 received a full time custodial sentence. That equals 4 percent of assaults originally reported to police.

sex cultureThe United Nations report Australia as having one of the highest rates of reported sexual assault in the world. 92 out of 100,000 people are sexually assaulted. However it’s estimated that 70 percent of assaults go unreported. This is most likely due to the fact the burden of proof has extensive requirements to be met. Additionally, court can be a lengthy and harrowing experience for victims. With such a low conviction rate, it’s understandable why so many keep quiet.

Being raped is a soul destroying experience. It strips you of your sense of self and erodes your feeling of worth. You feel shame and guilt for someone else’s crime. You’re tormented with flashbacks and riddled with confusion.

sex cultureIt was after I was first raped that I also lost my trust and faith in the human race. I was raped in broad daylight with people walking by. Not a single one did anything to help me, even after the perpetrator had gone. Feeling the overwhelming need to crawl out of my own skin, and my sickening instant despise for people, I walked all the way home. The bus wasn’t an option. I felt so dirty but showers weren’t cleaning me, no matter how long they were or how hard I scrubbed. Soap and water can’t clean a stained soul. I didn’t report the rape for two weeks due to shame and the unfounded feeling of guilt I carried, that I have since learned is common amongst survivors.

Sexual assault and rape are about power over another individual. Nine times out of ten the offender/s are known to their victims. Not ever is it the victim’s fault. No means no at whatever stage of the interlude. No definitely means no when one person is in no state to give consent. Sadly, abusers and rapists are part of society’s fabric. They don’t stand out as the people their labels describe them to be. Instead they are family members, friends, or co-workers, and often covert nice people.

sex cultureRape and sexual abuse is not a new phenomenon by any means. But the laws around it need a complete overhaul. As the figures show, too many offenders are held unaccountable while too many victims go without justice. Current laws give too much protection to the perpetrators of these abysmal crimes. Humanity needs to grow a stronger backbone and stop being afraid to stand up and help protect our fellow human beings from these crimes. Silence brings with it culpability – we need to teach this to our kids so they grow into adults who understand this.

This disturbing sex culture is more than alive and well amongst our teens. Asking girls for ‘nudes’ seems to be standard practice for the boys. Education is around teaching our girls the dangers of sending such photos, placing the onus on females to be wary of the consequences. I don’t see responsibility or consequences for the boys asking for these pornographic images of minors.

My daughter hopped in the car after tennis a few weeks ago quite upset. One of the boys in her group had been talking ‘rape talk’ she said. She stood up and told him not to talk like that, that it wasn’t okay. He then apparently said ‘aww you don’t like rape talk? Well you better get used to it.’ She told him she didn’t have to. It’s brave to speak up when nobody else does and I’m so proud of her. It’s disgusting that some boys still believe that sort of talk is ‘their right’, and concerning the lack of respect for females. The whole thinking pattern is faulty. And the sort of mindset that we need to change.

DON’T GET RAPED

 

devil

The Devil Has Many Disguises

devilWe’ve met the devil once before. His human form is an Irish truck driver, using many aliases. He sexually assaulted Jessie when she was 8. Then after I left that same year, out of spite, reported to police that I’d asked him for money so I could sell her online as a prostitute. I had my computer seized and was investigated. And for those who don’t know me, that is not something I could even think of, let alone be any part of. The whole thing rocked me for years, but it just shows who he is.

Whilst my website has opened many doors for me, it provided ‘Wayne’ (his latest alias) the perfect cover to fool me into conversation for a short while last night. Pretending to like my blog and comment on how rough things have been, then tell me a worker of his just committed suicide, was the perfect ploy.

Normally I would have ignored messages from someone I didn’t know. These days I’ve been talking to many people though, and I don’t want to ignore anyone reaching out or showing support. However I will be more careful in the future. I’m in a different place now. We’re safe and I’m not shutting down again. ‘Wayne’ has no power over me and his history is recorded with police. While I feel many things about this contact with me, I refuse to allow intimidation to be one of them. Screw that!!

devilI read somewhere last year that he’d been arrested and charged with fraud in 2015 after ripping people off in a building scam. The devil in another disguise. That article revealed two other aliases he was using – one of which I recognised. Using that alias, ‘Rory’ had messaged me five times over 2014 and 2015. I made a phone call the next day…

In our worst times when police were here two or three times a week, one officer in particular took us on. His first visit brought out the father in him. Seeing Jessie so out of control, needing her head knelt on to stop her spitting and biting, then carried out bound feet and wrists, tugged at his heart strings too. Jessie had been interviewed before, but he took another report, and this time against the real Rory. He’s checked in on us, and will continue do to so, so I called him. As it had been over 12 months since the last message, he made a report and we hoped that would be it. If there was any more contact he told me to report it.

This morning I went into the police station and did just that. I made it very clear to ‘Wayne’ that I knew who he was and he was never to contact me again. The Police will also back that up with a phone call to him.

devilWhat astounds me is that it didn’t take much investigation to make the connection I’d actually been chatting with the devil himself. Did he really want me to find out who he was? Did he really think I’d want to have anything to do with him after what he’s done?? Or did he think I was too stupid to figure it out? My gut feeling proved to be correct again.

Last night my mind was just a blur of spinning thoughts. So fast I couldn’t grab a thread to even put into words how I felt or what I was thinking. The only thing I knew was that I had a rock in my stomach and I felt sick. Extremely sick. I still can’t grasp how he could have the nerve to contact me. Or why he’d be stalking me in the first place. Could he insanely have no idea how I’d feel after he sexually assaulted my daughter and upturned our lives?? Too much.

However, as I’ve learnt, all those thoughts are in the past. The past is gone. The future is my choice and I choose to leave those thoughts where they are – behind me. I’m in control this time.

The devil cannot hurt us anymore, we’re stronger than you now.devil

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