To feel so desperate?

(29 Posts)
Djwkin Wed 20-Mar-13 20:11:57

Hi. I am not your typical user of Mumsnet, being a 32 year old man. My situation seems so desperate though, and I was wondering if I could have some impartial advice on how to move forward. All views are welcome.

I am currently living between the houses of my mother and my long term partner ( a much older man with mental health/alcohol related issues) in a small town in a fairly deprived part of South West England. I have some physical limitations due to right hemiplegia (a form of cerebral palsy). This means I can't drive, as I would need adaptations and special lessons, but cannot afford them as not eligible for government help due to not receiving mobility component of disability living allowance.

I am working as Front of House at a local art gallery, museum and tourist information centre. This is low paid, and only 21 hours a week, so it is difficult for me to save anything. The area has very few non- manual jobs, so I am lucky to have this.

My life history is as follows: I was raised by a single mother on benefits after my parents split up shortly after my diagnosis (at 10 months). My mother then went to university etc, and became an infant teacher when I was in my early teens. However, she is very bitter about the way her life turned out (no new partner etc.) and blames me. In anger she will call me spastic, cripple etc, and say I ruined her life as no man would be interested in a woman with a disabled child. However, conversely she is very dependent on me, and is constantly trying to engineer me being with her, saying you wouldn't manage alone etc.

Anyway, I did well academically at my local secondary school, getting top grades and getting a place to study English at Cambridge. I think I did we'll academically as I would type my mother's essays etc for her, and was socially awkward and rejected due to the disability.

When I went to Cambridge I struggled psychologically and I was very unhappy. I also started a relationship with my partner, and at the end of the first year I left and returned to my home town. I then lived with my partner, who had a severe drink problem (four to six litres of cider a day) and my lack of self-esteem meant I let the situAtion continue (he would go out drinking and then rant and rave at me). He has recently tried to address the drinking, but is long term unemployed with severe depression.

Anyway, when I was 25 I decided things had to change, and was lucky enough to be allowed to return to Cambridge. I worked hard and got a first, which I was chuffed with. It was hard for me to go back, as my mother expected me to take care of her dogs (this situation is ongoing - I am expected not to go out when I am not at work as 'what about the dogs?'

I was thus very pleased to have my degree, and quickly did a Celta course (tefl qualification) in Italy. This was ok, but I developed severe angioedema and missed my partner, so came back to Devon.

I then did tefl work in the area in the summer and was on jsa the rest of the time (which suited my mother, as I could take care of her dogs etc). I was also dealing with my partner's drinking and suicide attempts, and also broke my hip in the winter of 2009.

I decided for my self esteem I needed regular work, which is when I got my present job. However, this job doesn't allow me proper autonomy etc, being part-time with no prospects. I do ok, but it is low level and is now making me feel worse about myself.

I would do anything to escape. I am also financially supporting my partner (he has suffered from atos healthcare assessments) and weirdly my mother. I had saved some money, but she broke her back in December ( a stable fracture, and she will get better in time). I've had to buy her clothes, shopping, vet bills, cigarettes as she can't get out. This is upwards of £1000 I have spent. I have asked her for it back, but she just laughs in my face and says I was a mug for using my card. Her school is undergoing restructuring and her job is possibly at risk, but she has a damn sight more money than me. Instead, she accesses my amazon account and buys stuff on it.

I really want to escape, but my self-confidence is shot. I now have very few friends and no support. I did go and see a friend in London last year and applied for jobs there, but no luck (due to where I live perhaps, and a patchy cv). I would like to try to get into a career in social work, but can't find work related to make me eligible. I also don't know how to fund the conversion course. If anyone has any advice, I would be so grateful ( thank you for reading this long and messy post). I would seek mental health support, but there are no resources in my area, and I don't want to take anti ds in case it deepens my apathy/inertia.

Donnadoon Wed 20-Mar-13 20:19:22

So sorry to read your post and didn't want to read and run, but in short
Why have you not cut your Mother out of your life ?
Sorry to be so blunt.. But you sound like a lovely bloke and she sounds toxic

aldiwhore Wed 20-Mar-13 20:31:34

First step is to ring admissions at (any) University (is Exeter the closest to you?) and ask about conversion courses, costs etc., or it may be possible to do a post-grad course that would give you the social work qualification.

That's one thing you CAN do.

I can't advise you to leave your mother and long term partner to their own devices because you sound like a very caring, loving man for whom that is simply not an option. But you CAN stop bank rolling them. They are both using you.

You deserve better than this and the only person that can get you that is you. I really think you should see your GP and discuss your options regarding your self esteem issues, drugs may not be THE answer but in my short experience they gave me enough of a boost to help myself... in conjunction with CBT or counselling, they may well help you.

CHANGE YOUR PASSWORDS!! You mother I assume is still getting her salary?

I don't know what else to say and realise your options may seem to be limited based on what you've told us, but I think you probably have more options than you realise, but aren't realising because of your tortured downtrodden state of mind? I wish you the best of luck.

Latara Wed 20-Mar-13 20:33:19

Get online to look at local therapy services (eg CBT) & counselling that may be available in your area. Also try looking for 'assertiveness training'.

Anti ds can help as apathy can be a sign of depression, but you need to discuss that with a GP. They take up to 12 weeks to be fully effective, & you may need to try more than one type.
Anti ds lift you out of the depression so you do feel more lively then, but not automatically happier.

The Relationships board may be a good place for you to look at re: your mother & your partner.

You are only young so you have plenty of time to start new types of work / projects / find new friends etc. You sound like a nice considerate man so you will find that making new friends won't be too difficult once you feel more confident.

nevertoooldforindie Wed 20-Mar-13 20:39:18

Dj sorry I can't give you professional advice but it is amazing what you have achieved returning to college with all that is going on around you.

It may be useful to try and talk some issues through with someone impartial as it must be overwhelming with your mother and your partners issues. You may be able to access something like a first steps service via your gp or as a carer to either your mother or partner something like making space. This might make things easier to focus on your own goals.

Do you have anyone in the job centre that can advise or student information officer at a college that offers the course you are interested in?

Well I wish you the best of luck and hope things work out for you

nevertoooldforindie Wed 20-Mar-13 20:40:49

I'd change the amazon password for a start. Cheeky mare. And no more shopping unless she gives you cash first

ipotty Wed 20-Mar-13 20:54:06

Please please don't be so hard on yourself. You have done so much and you can do more. The hemiparesis need not stop you persuing the career you want. I speak from RL experience. If you want to do social work go for it! This has to be the first stage of your plan. Once you are qualified and in a well paid job the rest of your life willbe so much easier to deal with. Just concentrate on getting the job you want. I wish you the best with all my heart.

MummytoKatie Wed 20-Mar-13 20:58:55

Cambridge university's careers service is open to all alumni so it may be worth contacting them for careers advice.

sanityawol Wed 20-Mar-13 21:03:01

If you're in North Devon or Torridge areas then you may be able to find some support with the situation with your mother from NDADA.

Also if you're in those areas, there are some organisations that can help with funding for training. If you are, but don't want to post your location on the thread then feel free to PM me and I can give you some contacts.

ipotty Wed 20-Mar-13 21:13:09

Also have you thought about going into primary teaching? If so, you can volunteer at local schools to get the experience you need especially as you work part time and so would have the time to do this.

EvaM Wed 20-Mar-13 21:25:02

Hi Dj,

change your passwords and get away from your mum as soon as you can. it doesn't cost that much to get a room at a house share as oposed to getting your own place.

You might find it easier to assert yourself towards your mum better in that situation, if you want to keep her in your life. You need to make clear ( to her and to you) that she is not entitled to your help, if she takes advantage of you.

I would refuse any further help to her, if she doesn't re-imburse you for the shopping you got her.

Best of luck!

TuppenceBeresford Wed 20-Mar-13 22:16:51

Hey dj, I can't really think of any practical support but didn't want to just read your post and run.

My gut reaction is that you need to get out of Devon - there doesn't seem to be much for you there in terms of opportunites or resources/support, and your relationships with both your mum and your partner are not doing you any good. I know you feel a responsibilty towards both of them but really think you need to think about your own mental health. I know it's hard, but it just seems like you are thinking too much about other people at the expense of your own well-being. The relationship with your mother sounds dreadful - I appreciate she might have her own issues but I really think you need to put some distance between you as her behaviour towards you is so damaging.

Could you see a careers advisor about possible options? You have so much going for you - a first from Cambridge for goodness' sake, in spite of health and personal problems! I'm sure you would make a great social worker, or some other profession where you help people; you seem like a really kind and caring person.

Sorry if that hasn't been much help but I just wanted to post some encouragement, you have loads going for you and there IS a way out of this.

God bless,
x

Djwkin Wed 20-Mar-13 23:38:33

I would like to thank everyone for their thoughtful and heartfelt comments and advice. A great deal of what you suggest is stuff I have already thought about and investigated myself. It is helpful to have had these thoughts externalised though (made concrete if you like) as it can be very hard maintaining perspective and rationality in what is undoubtedly a very screwed-up situation. So thank you again for your insight and understanding, and I shall look again tomorrow (fairly shattered now) and try to take heart and find a way forward. Oh, and I will change my amazon password pronto (I recognise that not doing this makes me complicit in what is happening to me, and that needs to change). Night night all.

Finola1step Wed 20-Mar-13 23:52:18

Hi dj,

I can't offer lots of advice but you have come to the right place. There are many wise people on here who will be able to advise and support. Keep on posting over the coming days. You might want to move this to the Relationships section as that will help you reach a wide range of supportive people. MNHQ will be able to move the thread for you if you wish. Good luck.

Djwkin Thu 21-Mar-13 00:10:10

Hi. I have copied it over to relationships as well. Thank you though.

Shellywelly1973 Thu 21-Mar-13 00:28:31

I can't add to the advice you've already been given but you sound like an amazing person.

You have achieved so much in your life already, through your own hard work & determination. Your physically impaired. You've got a partner you care for. A mother you care for. You sound too kind & giving. Your mum & partner are taking advantage of you. They both would learn to manage if you weren't around to look after them.

I think you need to put yourself first now. The very best of luck for the future, i have no doubt you will end up where your meant to be!

Mimishimi Thu 21-Mar-13 00:47:59

Change your Amazon password and disable one-click shopping. Possibly remove the credit card information and just enter it as needed. Did you finish the CELTA course in Italy? Could you look for TESOL work in schools, locally or abroad? We just spent a couple of years living in China and there is huge demand for TESOL teachers with a good degree. With a first from Cambridge and possibly playing up the Oxbridge accent a little ;), I am not exaggerating when I say that you would have your pick of positions, probably at university level in very short time. The wages are quite good by local standards but the most money is made out of hours by providing private tuition where students would be expected to come to you, rather than you travel around everywhere to them. As a foreigner, you are not allowed to drive in China anyway, except in Hong Kong where public transportation is uniformly excellent even for those with disabilities.

I wouldn't say to cut off your mother - it does sound like her life has been hard but maybe putting a few years, or miles, of distance between you would really help the situation between the two of you. You sound very balanced actually. Good luck ...

AudrinaAdare Thu 21-Mar-13 00:52:29

You do sound lovely. You have had good advice already and there will be more to come.

Best wishes from me smile

vivizone Thu 21-Mar-13 01:03:58

Feel a bit teary reading this. You sound like such a decent, kind and really insightful person. You will go far. Wish you happiness.

Darkesteyes Thu 21-Mar-13 02:15:56

OP you sound lovely. Your mum is toxic as well as emotionally and financially abusive. Agree with viv

Bedtime1 Thu 21-Mar-13 03:56:08

Hi djkwin. I can't believe a mother would ever say those things to her child. It is not right. It is awful and I hope you know that it is your mum who has issues.

It must have felt awful having that guilt put on to you about your dad leaving. You owe your mum nothing or your partner. Don't let either of them guilt trip you anymore. Your mum especially has guilt tripped you for far too long. Before you know it life will have passed you by, you need to think of yourself now and creating a life for you. What about your happiness?your life matters and none of these selfish people care because they are so self absorbed. You do what you want to do in life.. Its okay remember that. Nice mums/ dads want their sons/ daughters to flourish, do well and get on with life not hold you back. Hope you can be strong and follow your dreams.

Keep posting.

SavoyCabbage Thu 21-Mar-13 05:55:30

You do sound like a lovely, lovely man with such a lot to offer the world. My advice is to stop feeling responsible for other adults and to start looking after yourself.

quesadilla Thu 21-Mar-13 06:17:08

I think you should be incredibly proud of yourself for having got as far as you have in such difficult circumstances and would try to take as much succour as you can from this. Use this to build up your self esteem. Remember, very few people could have done what you have done.

I can't advise you what to do about your closest relationships but you seem to have a lot of people in your life who are trying to drag you back. Your mum, in particular, sounds like a bully.

I agree with others further up: I think more education could be the way out if this for you. Speak to admissions departments at colleges and get a sense of what it is you want to do. I think you should also try counselling: you are going to need some hand-holding. Good luck, I wish you the best.

Toasttoppers Thu 21-Mar-13 10:03:07

What a lovely caring person you sound, the problem is people have taken advantage of you, people that should love you the most. I can't add extra advice as anything I was going to add is already here but wishing you the very best for the future.

Softlysoftly Thu 21-Mar-13 10:46:26

Probably far too simplistic and relationships board will help you more but to me a clean break however painful that may be may be best.

Contact your friend in London see if they could put you up for a while, try and get a job (any job) and flat share and walk away from both the users in your life. Your Mother and useless fuckwit of a "partner".

You sound lovely and there will be people out there who are truly deserving of you, who will show you actual love and support, not abuse.

Djwkin Thu 04-Apr-13 20:40:37

Sorry. I haven't checked my messages for a few days. I just posted this message to my university supervisor to see if he had any advice. I am trying to contact as many people as possible, as I really feel I need help to be able to get out of the hole I am in. Here it is:

Dear Pete,
How are you? It seems strange that it is over five years since I finally completed my degree at King's, and I really appreciate the extremely useful help that you gave me when I completed that final year.I hope all is well both in your life and at King's.
I am actually writing because I know that when Jonathan experienced some difficulties you kindly gave him some advice, and I was wondering if you could give me some advice on my own situation. I recognise that you are extremely busy, so please don't worry if you have no insights or ideas as to what I could do.
Essentially, I guess the best thing to do is give you a sense of what I have done and my life situation in the past five years. After I left King's, I went to Italy and took a CELTA course to allow me to do TEFL teaching. This went fine, but while I was there I developed a weird autoimmune disorder that meant my face and lips became hugely swollen. As I was stressed by this situation (and teaching teenagers at the time - which wasn't much fun with facial swelling) I then returned to England after 4 months both to seek medical treatment and because I felt poleaxed by the whole situation. The medical treatment for what was wrong with me - Melkerrson-Rosenthal Syndrome - was convoluted and long, but I am much better now.
After this, I basically got trapped in the same dynamics that had screwed me up in early adult life (hence my earlier problems at university). This involved being in a difficult relationship with someone with an alcohol problem and depression, and dealing with my mother, who is very dependent on me and wants me to support her psychologically and financially. I know I should never have gone back to this situation, and I knew it at the time, but I did. I then worked in TEFL jobs in my local area for 2 years, ibut these were temporary and seasonal, so I alternated between working and being on job seeker's allowance at the time. My psychological state had become so skewed that I felt anxious about seeking fulltime work as my mother's expectation was that I would stay at her house to look after her dogs, and when I did work I was expected to organise and fund care for them. My work was also fairly grim - doing TEFL courses with no resources apart from a whiteboard for a slightly sketchy company that provided courses for 11-18 year old French students. I did become the Senior Tutor for these courses, but it still involved working for only about a third of the year.
Two years into this, I decided that this couldn't continue, and applied for a job in a local art gallery and got it. This was only part-time(21 hours), and it was only a Front of House role, but I did get it. However, before I started, in December 2009 I broke my hip on ice, and was out of action for four months. I then did start the job (they had kindly kept it open for me) but it is low-paid administrative work, with no possibility for advancement. I am still doing this role now, and I am living between my mother's house and my partner's flat.
After a year at the art gallery (which I saw as meaning I at least had a period of sutained work I could put on my CV) I applied to do a PGCE, more out of desperation than a great desire bto teach. They must have recognised this, because I didn't get through the interview process (which I am not particularly sad about to be honest). As my social network and support systems were vanishingly small, in 2012 I then renewed contact with friends of mine in London, and tried to apply for jobs there. Unfortunately, being based in North Devon and with a limited CV, I couldn't get anywhere, receiving no interviews. I also looked at law conversions, but they are crazily expensive. I also waws not able to move lock, stock and barrel to London, as I had nowhere to stay and my financial situation was (and is) dire. I earn about 150 a week, and have found myself in the position of giving some to my mother and some to my partner.
Also, last December my mother broke her back (a stable fracture, and she should recover fully). I have had to be her main carer, and it is only in the last couple of weeks I have been able to leave her for a full day. Even when she could move independently, I had to do the shopping, clean, walk dogs, get medicines etc. This has obviously been pretty horrible, and I have also had to deal with my partner's breakdowns due to ATOS Healthcare work capability assessments etc. I had saved a couple of grand so if I did move to London, Bristol, Cambridge or another city, I would have a start up fund, but things like my mother's shopping, her cigarettes, clothes and vet bills have meant that this money has gone. I have asked for the money back (she is a teacher), but she feels hard done by life and refuses, essentially laughing in my face and saying 'You're the mug who spent the money...' etc. She constantly calls me incapable and says I will never amount to anything and the like, which is obviously an index of her own unhappiness.
I clearly see that it is key that I get out of this situation, and I guess that involves leaving my job and moving to a city. Given that I don't drive (need an adapted car and special lessons, but i'm not disabled enough to receive government help) there are certainly no jobs in my local area (area with lowest average wage in the country) that I can get. In a city, I would have many more options. However, I need work to make a move possible. I haven't got anywhere to stay, although I do have friends in London, Glasgow and Cambridge (Jonathan). I have looked at doing a social work MA, but you need relevant experience. Many low paid social care jobs are not within my physical capabilities, and in my local area the only relevant voluntary role I could find was working at a church-run foodbank, which probably isn't that applicable. In a city, even if I was doing low-paid admin work, I would have many opportunities to pursue voluntary roles, if I decided that that was what I wanted to do. I suppose one thing I'm asking is if you know of any jobs I could go for in Cambridge (or other cities)? Or if you can see another way forward for me? At the moment, any and all perspectives are welcome, as I don't see how I can leave my job and move, with no likelihood of finding another job. Also my confidence and self-worh (always tenuous) are basically shiot to pieces.
Anyway, I'm really sorry for this awfiul rant, and please feel no obligation to reply. I am just trying every avenue at the moment to move forward. Despite my shitty situation, most of the time I feel relatively sane (although obviously down and feeling under attack - for example, writing this email has been difficult with my mother hanging around to see what I'm doing and saying 'You're horrible' because I'm not engaging with her or paying her attention). My partner would certainly intellectually support me in making changes I think, so that is one less thing for me to worry about.
God, I really have splurged haven't I? Again, I hope all is good with you. It would be great to see you again sometime.
Take care.
Best Wishes
Dan
Was this a crazy thing to have done?

Buddhagirl Thu 04-Apr-13 21:23:19

Not at all! Ask ask ask for help. Nothing wrong with that. Could you stop giving other people money and spend it on private therapy?

Your 32 with loads of life in front of you and you are so capable of getting out of this situation. You've already started :-)

Djwkin Sat 31-Aug-13 14:32:10

Just thought I'd say thank you to everyone who commented on my situation. I'm moving to London in a week to work for a homeless charity ( well, actually as a volunteer, but I get accommodation and food). So, I'm very excited and I am going to try my very best to use this opportunity to permanently escape what has been a very difficult situation. Anyway, thanks again everyone for your perceptive and insightful comments - having external views enabled me to be more objective and organised in seeking to change my life situation.

opalescent Sat 31-Aug-13 14:48:03

That's wonderfulsmile good luck!

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