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How to help my Sister(10 Posts)
This is my first post after a long time lurking. There are ongoing issues in my family and perspective/advice will be much appreciated, especially with regards to his to help my sister...sorry, it's going to be long:
I am one of six siblings, borne of my mother and 4/5 different men. Our childhood wasn't great...we were looked after physically, we ate, we were dressed etc, but there was, looking back now, a lot of manipulation by my mother, and what I now see as an unacceptable level of violence and fear of violence from my various 'Dads' and my mum.
We were alternately victimized and favoured by my mum which has caused long term rifts between certain siblings which I fear will never heal. My elder Sister was taken into care at 15, my brother left home to live with friends parents at 15 and I chose to leave at 16 also.
As a child I felt like my mother's favourite, she would praise me over my other siblings and made it obvious I was her 'favourite'- her words. This caused huge resentment particularly with my younger siblings who are closer to me in age than the older ones.
I was well behaved, did well at school and rarely gave cause for 'criticism' from my mum but if I ever mentioned my father (who left before I was born) I was threatened (to be put into care, to be kicked out, to be killed).
My step Dad is physically a very big man who uses his size to dominate situations, intimidating people smaller than himself with his size, get uncomfortably close, shouting obscenely loudly and occasionally resorting to physical violence against us as children, nothing drastic but enough to leave a mark and a painful memory.
At 16 I had had enough and won scholarship to a six form college and left home. When I returned in holidays I was told I could only stay if I paid rent and was made to sleep on the sofa with no privacy and had to buy my own food. As I had no income I therefore spent a lot of to me at friends houses in the holidays.
Fast forward to uni and my mum refused to allow a financial assessment to determine the support I was entitled to (I believe because she was committing benefit fraud and this would out her...just a hunch really, based on various comments so perhaps unfair)...anyway I struggled through uni with some support from my now dh and a further scholarship. In the final year I lost this scholarship as medical issues meant I could not fulfil the eligibility criteria. The scholarship funders attempted to claw back the funds but rather than writing to me wrote to my mum, who was not speaking to me due to reasons you will read below. She therefore did nothing about this until bailiff turned up on her doorstep at which point show gave them my address. I had ccj passed against me without even knowing and this brought my graduate job into jeopardy. I had to go to court to resolve this and had to repay 10kish in a lump sum, which would not have been the case if it had been addressed sooner.
Since this time there have been various incidents of my mother scapegoating my elder sister which I have called her out on. This has resulted in an on-off very tense relationship with her (my mum)....
2 years ago my sister got I touch worth our 'Dad'...he has not been around for 25 years but I guess she wanted some answers...he didn't know I existed! He has accepted me...but I am not sure I like him, his reasons for not being around are plausible (as you can get)...but I am just not sure he's 'mine' and therefore if my elder brother and sister are too...my mum refuses to speak about this so I can't really get any answers....
My Sisters Story
My sister looks just like my dad. My mum HATES her...she got taken into care when she was 15 after my mum beat her up and school called SS. She married an idiot had his kid then my mum fell out with her again as she wanted to smoke around my DNiece and my sister would not allow due to asthma / respiratory problems related to birth. My mum disowned her. I stuck up for her...calmly explaining logic, suggesting docs visits together etc...mum disowned me. Cue years of on-off contact, tense relationships, bitching and finally birth my sister and I going full non contact at end of last due to the ongoing issues.
Meanwhile my sister divorces idiot who takes to threatening her, defaming her, sleeping outside her house, letting DNiece down re contact, not administering Dr prescribed mess for asthma, giving her food that makes her ill, overtime my DNiece returns from contact she poos her pants for two weeks...my sister cuts contact until issues are resolved.
Today sis received court docs from xh for access ...with character references from my mum, youngest siblings saying that sis is a terrible mother...a liar, was taken into care as she was violent, has 'made up' DNieces asthma,let's her ride in front of car with no seatbelt.....all lies....
Mr response: reply to court with Ss records to disprove accusation of violence, Drs note re asthma, and character references of her own.
She doesn't think she can afford a solicitor...we would help but in process of moving house and I'm not sure my dh would agree anyway...we already babysit once a week, have helped her move 3 times, looked after DNiece so sis can go on a week's holiday...I am glad to do this. Her mh has suffered and she needs the support but understandably dh is fed up. He comes from a normal family and has been dealing with this crap for nearly 8 years...what now?
Sorry....I know this is long and full of typos-am on my phone. You would never guess this isn't even half the story
Sounds like the pair of you are a total credit to your inner strength and whichever adults managed to be a good influence in your lives growing up!
The only sound recommendations I can make are Womens Aid and the CAB. They should be able to point her towards any free or funded resources.
Glad she has you standing by her - and good luck with your move
Jesus what a story and you say it's not even half!
I am pretty sure the court will see straight through your mother and siblings reports. Especially after you have backed up your sister with evidence contradicting what they say.
I agree with Garlicyoni and would say CAB would be your/her best bet for info.
I expect you both will go NC with all your other siblings and mother now?
Thanks both for your replies...as silly as it sounds it is nice just to have people 'believe' me, my mother can be very good at putting on a different show for the world compared to what has actually gone on over the years. The most difficult thing is explaining to people why we have no contact...especially people I love, like my in laws (I am so lucky with them)- they are nice to the point of naive and just don't 'get it', wheeling out the 'oh but she is your mum' and inadvertently guilt-tripping/making me feel awful. Luckily dh is great and has picked up on this and stamps it down straight away
I still have contact with my older brother who is a nice normal person and has similar issues with my mum...the thing that makes me really though is he never sticks up for anyone..will privately say how awful her behaviour is but won't confront her. I am lucky that I have people to back me up, as is he, but Dsis is on her own so I feel like we should support her, I would be gutted if mum did the same to me and no one battled an eyelid!
I actually got a message from my mum at the weekend - 'thinking of you, miss you' which I ignored as needed time to think, no need to say it won't be getting a reply! Everytime she mellows for a while and we give her another chance then she does something awful again. Not anymore...I dont have kids but I love my DNiece enough to know this is not how you treat them!
sis could ask SS to provide her with her own file from when she was taken into care, then sis can use those documents to discount what your mum says.
but it may be very painful indeed for sis to do this
alternatively, sis could ask SS to do a summary of the care history for the court, or better still, ask CAFCASS to make those enquiries with ss and include them in any report that CAFCASS write.
apart from anything else, there should be no question of your mum having contact with your DN whilst she's with her dad (if he gets any contact at all), and this would justify getting SS involved to summarise the issues with your mum.
I went through very similar to your sister, I disowned my mother, then a couple of years later when I split with my ex he took to sitting outside my house to see who was coming in and out, being abusive, defaming me, not giving DS asthma meds, giving him food he was intolerant to, neglecting DS, denying a disability that he has and saying I was lying about it. I eventually had to go to court and the character witness for ex was my mother who told lots of lies too (does this all sound familiar?).
It was one of the worst periods of my life but I had to get through it for DS. The courts can be very reasonable and the judge seen through what ex and my mother were saying and had a restraining order issued against ex.
Tell your sister to get in touch with women's aid, they were very helpful for me. She should phone around solicitors or ask women's aid to recommend one with knowledge in domestic abuse. Usually solicitors will offer a free 1 hour session, and she'll be able to represent herself in family courts too. Contact social services about the concerns she has for dneice when he is in ex's care too, and most importantly tell her to be strong and that she'll eventually get through all of this.
Also, I've allowed ex to have contact with DS at the grandparents house and the judge also ordered that ex was not to have DS anywhere near my mother if he was in ex's or the grandparents care as the judge also said that he viewed ex's desire for my son to have a relationship with my mother to be purely just to get back at me (which it is, as he fully supported DS having no contact with my mother when we were together).
Would you provide a character reference for your sis, which also makes reference to the violence and emotional abuse you experienced and witnessed as a child?
Your sis could ask her old school for details of the SS referral, and any other relevant information relating to her well-being, under the Data Protection Act. Same request could be made to SS.
Has anyone else witnessed her exH's behaviour? Could they provide a statement? Did your sis ever report him to police?
I echo the advice in relation to contacting Woman's Aid.
Thanks again all, Tiger, I cant believe your stories are so similar! for you. It beggars belief that people cam act this way.
My sis has her social services records already and I have advised contacting women's aid. She has previously reported both my mum and her xh to the police and DNiece has been referred to child psychologist. Myself mad dh have already confirmed that we will make statements/provide references on her behalf, giving details of incidents concerning both my mum and the xh if needed.
I just hope the judge/cafcass/ss can see through all the rubbish and put an end to it for my sister's sake, she is not having an easy time of it
Thanks again for all advice, I will pass on and keep supporting her to get through this
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