This is such a hard post to write but I feel happy writing it all out here.
I have never got on really well with my family. There is just four of us as I really feel like the odd one out. I feel like they all hold me back, stop me from being who I really am and want to be and never bring out the best in me.
People say that family is the most important thing you have, well I have a big family and family doesn’t mean just blood related relatives. I feel my family are actually not blood related to me or are distant family relatives.
Us four clash, well them three and me clash! My sister is just a couple of years younger than me but is so different to me. Her opinions, the way she acts, what she finds important to her are just so different to my mindset and hers is very similar to my parents.
When I was growing up I really disliked being around my family. They never let me go out with my friends without hundreds of questions, they disliked my friends and made them feel unwelcome, they showed me they didn’t trust me a lot of the time and made it very obvious that they favoured my little sister – probably because she never steps out of line and just does whatever they say/ask of her.
Since being really young I remember packing my little mini suitcase with my clothes and my favourite Annie baby doll and a book. I’d yell at my parents that I hated them and I would tell them I was leaving home. Of course at such a young age they mocked me but I can remember being so serious about it. I would tell them I would get on a train and that my nan would meet me and I would live with her!
I was in year 6 or 7 at school, I had an argument with my mum, it was so horrible and she literally overreacted over me not doing something so small. I don’t want to go into too much detail but we lived in a maisonette, so had concrete stairs outside up to our doorway. She threw me out of the house by my hair and I remember running into my back garden and just crying uncontrollably. I didn’t know what to say or do or where to go but I knew I couldn’t stay there anymore. So I ran to my primary school, literally less than a minute around the corned. I buzzed at the office and they knew me (my mum works at that school), they sat me down with a cup of water and tried to calm me down. They called my mum who had no idea I had left the garden. She came in all ‘worried’ and upset and said that I could have gone to her. I felt humiliated and stupid!
She walked me to my dads work down the road and made me tell him what I had done.
The arguments continued and I often went to bed upset. I was a used of MSN chat then and liked to go on whenever I could as most people my age would. I would talk to my aunts husband who would make me laugh and told me that he would always be there for me. He used to explain to me about the world, what my parents thought of me, he used to tell me things they had told him and I believed that I had found one reliable adult who I could go to with any problems I had. We spoke so much and he made me feel ‘special’.
So I had found a nice escape from my not so enjoyable life. My parents have never really had spare cash for pocket money or to help me and my sister out much so I often couldn’t join in with the social activities my friends were all doing like going for lunch, shopping, cinema… I felt like I was growing apart from my friends too. I didn’t want them to know what my relationship was like with my parents as they all seemed to get on really well with theirs. So I rarely invited people over and I made up excuses as to why I couldn’t do things with them. Of course I started to be ignored by them and less involved with what they were planning.
Now I felt like I had no friends and not much of a family, except my uncle. He once offered me some money and said that it could be a bit of an early birthday present or something just as long as I didn’t tell my parents. He asked for my best friends address so he could send the money in an envelope to her and that way my parents would not be intrigued about the letter I would receive in the post.
I checked with my friend if should would mind my uncle sending me some money in the post but to her address and she agreed. So I passed on her address and he later got back to me saying he had posted the money. I waited and waited and waited, so excited that I would have a little bit of money to just go out and enjoy myself with my friends for once. I asked my best friend daily if she had received my letter yet. I started to get worried that my uncle had sent money and it hadn’t reached me so I let him know I still hadn’t got it. He told me that he did send it and that my friend must be lying…so he manipulated me into thinking I couldn’t trust my friend and she had taken my money. My relationship with her continued but I always kept this nagging doubt that she was lying to me (we are still friends and I know that at that age she never would have been able to have kept something like that from me, although I have never asked her).
My uncle topped up my phone for me sometimes online, I would receive emails saying thank you for topping your phone which I was happy about because again I couldn’t afford phone credit so never could enjoy receiving or sending texts! I also received an iTunes voucher. When my dad found out I was downloading music illegally he removed the software, so my uncle sent me the voucher so I could still get some of my favourite songs at the time.
I really felt ‘looked after’ and ‘loved’.
One summer I think I was aged 12/13? I couldn’t be around my family much more and during the school holidays it’s worse! So I arranged to go at stay with my nan (my uncle and aunt also lived with her with my baby cousins). I ended up staying with them for the whole 6 weeks of summer holidays. I felt like I was having a good break from my family and I loved the attention I got (I barely saw my nan and grandad as my parents aren’t that close to them).
But that was also the summer that a lot of things changed and looking back now what I thought was my best summer was actually the worst and to this day still effects me. Everything my uncle was telling me online, I was believing. When he greeted me in real life he would hug me a bit longer, or smell me and make a comment on my perfume or bodyspray. He would kiss my cheeks a bit harder than usual. When walking past me he would give me this ‘look’ or ‘stare’ which was uncomfortable.
The looks turned into brushes up against me and he started to make more physical contact. I never knew how to react as I didn’t want to upset him and I didn’t want to make a deal out of it if it was nothing (I thought I was just being silly and taking friendliness the wrong way). It just continued the whole summer and I felt more and more trapped. I wanted to be back home but he found excuses for me to stay and made me feel like if I went back I would be unhappy again so it was best to stay longer. So I stayed, welcomed by all of my family.
From then until now I live with what has happened to me. I didn’t really know what I could call it, it wasn’t anything as extreme as rape, there was nothing like that…I eventually found out a couple of years ago just from reading stories in magazines and online that it was grooming. I was being groomed by him for what I do not know but I am glad it has ended.
I cut back talking to him, whenever I visited or he visited my family I would make sure we were never alone and if that wasn’t possible then that we were only alone for as short as possible and I would show no interest.
He doesn’t ever contact me and if he makes a comment on a picture of me or on my Facebook updates I just ignore it.
I want to cut him out completely but I do not want my family to find out about this because I am pretty sure it will be turned on me somehow and I will be the one to destroy the family even more. I don’t even want any attention brought to me I just want to get on with my life.
After a year of being with my boyfriend I knew how special he was and I had to tell him because I worried that if we had a future together it would have to eventually come out and the sooner the better. I felt so sick letting it out, I didn’t even tell him straight, I kind of went around it and bit by bit information came out over the months.
My relationship with my family did improve a little after not talking to my uncle as I wasn’t being fed this false information about how they viewed me or things they had said about me behind my back. However we still are not close, I would never tell them about this, I still cannot wait to move out and away from them and be my own person.
It’s horrible suffering alone for so long and I would strongly suggest that if anyone who reads this who is suffering about a similar issue or anything alone, that you should confide in someone you love and trust. I felt like I would be a burden but it helps to share the pain and it is such a great comfort knowing I can go to my boyfriend whenever it gets me down or I want to talk about it to release it from my head.
I want to make a difference to this world and something I really want to be a part of (as well as teaching) is to raise money for charities and projects which tackle depression, abuse and are child related. For a child to suffer alone is the saddest thing that could happen, I know there are many who are experiencing much worse lives than myself which is why I want to help – because I am able to.