Monday, 7 January 2019

When all else fails.......

Well it has been 4 months since I last wrote a post on the blog and many have speculated that after nearly 10 years of blogging that I had finally chucked in the towel.
The blog is and will always be a place for me to express my thoughts; despite rumours, I’m not that bright and the blog is exactly what it says on the tin.

To write about a life that I wasn’t living, hiding away aspects that were difficult, made me feel like I was being disingenuous; something that I try passionately not to be!
Yet, to talk about some of the things that have been going on also felt like a betrayal towards Hannah. A lot of the story wasn’t mine to tell and it could easily be taken the wrong way. A majority of the problems here have been with “A”, Hannah’s youngest.

He has a problem with a lot of people who “interfere” with what he wants to do or people in some form of a relationship with his mum; the majority of it aimed at me.
When your entire days, space and energy is constantly battling a force that a) you’re not used to dealing with, and, b) targeted solely at you blocks the ability to reset yourself into the things that you usually do.

When life was hard and “all else failed” I would dive into a book, write a blog post, spend time on social media, listen to music or draw but these things, at times, weren’t allowed. The music may be too loud, space to think and recover when you are hearing demands, threats and shouting is difficult, especially when they make sure they strategically place themselves outside of the room you are in.
So what do you do?

How do you say “We, even us adults, are victims of domestic/parental abuse and the child is 7” without people making judgments? We have already heard them being made by the professionals who should be helping.
How do you say that a 7 year old physically attacks me, sometimes with their fists and others with weapons or that they have knocked you over so you’re vulnerable? How do you say that the bullying that happened with James was mostly orchestrated by his step-brother because “He wants him so upset that he leaves and doesn’t come back {to school or my house}”? Or, tell people that you see regular psychological abuse happening when you see him punching, strangling, head-butting and biting himself when he is saying “I am doing this until you give me XXX”, “let me sleep in the bed with Mummy,” “You shouldn’t put me on “thinking time” to his mum or telling us why we’re making him sad until he gets what he wants.

In reality 90% of the above isn’t new. Hannah has had to deal with this before I came around and mostly by herself. “A” has some very mixed up ideas on how to do things and what he believes is true.
In the last 18 months we’ve tried everything. I pulled all of my knowledge from teaching, working with SEN children, child psychology and art therapy and nothing has helped. I was with his mum, a few things changed and Hannah finally had some back-up to tackle some of the more challenging behaviour.

When all else failed we turned to get help. We tried Early Help, Paediatricians, School and Social Services back in July and everything got rejected. In reality “A” is a very controlled child. He will talk very calmly about his aims, the way he wants to punish James and I or “control” his Mum and Sister and he will discuss quite freely why he won’t be caught doing it. His freedom to discuss how he controls people outside like other family members and even the Teachers is quite alarming at times; ultimately, his playing field, his rules, who he chooses and when he wants.
Then we moved James to his new school. The Home and School support worker is amazing. She wanted to know everything about James, his previous school experience and his home life. It was her who finally said “This IS domestic abuse” and that’s when it really dawned on us.  She understood, supported us and said to give everything a go again with seeking help, so we did.

In November Social Services entered our home to investigate. Here was our hope: we can push for a CAMHS, get some therapy help for both “A” and us as a family and finally some ways to tackle some of the more aggressive situations.
He came; he interviewed us, seemed to almost argue that some of these things don’t seem possible for a child so young (Despite 11% of young abusers being under the age of 10) then interviewed the children. It all seemed to be going well.

Then it didn’t.
After interviewing the kids he instantly had a problem with me. He seemed, despite the other children supporting what we had said, taken what “A” had said as gospel, i.e, I was the problem and I didn’t want “A”.

He wanted background history on me, found out about the abuse I suffered as a child prior to my adoption, my nervous breakdown, my Dependent Personality Disorder and that, prior to 6 years ago, being an alcoholic. The assumptions were adding up. He spoke to the boys Mum and wanted to know her point of view, she expressed concern for the boys, retold the stories that they had said and constantly had to bring the conversation back from him disagreeing and blaming me. We have a good co-parenting relationship but for her to say “He really has it in for you” made us all worry. Yet, he won’t speak to A’s dad because “He’s not currently relevant” despite protests that he could support the claim that he has been like this before I was around.
The schools were contacted and he didn’t speak to the people who were in the know so came back a blank for “A”, phoned James’ school and had their feedback. Only for his school to phone me, explain their conversation a little and say “I really got the impression he was out to get you”.

He has even used William’s handwriting as a reason why the entirety of our Home Ed journey is a mask, created by me, for setting him up for dependant life in the future.  
We are now just waiting for his report to come back. We pretty much know what his conclusions will be because, as written above, he has already made several statements that imply his view.

So there we are, back to square one. All the routes have got us nowhere. The behaviour at home is on and off at the moment and we are having a small spell of easier days but we’ve already had those throughout the year.
So, when all else fails…….

You have 2019.
I have always believed in “Every day, only once, good or bad”. Every day I go to bed, say my prayers and start the next day a fresh. That is exactly what I will continue to do. We know the truth, we know he isn’t a monster but we do know he has issues that need help and despite what the Social think I won’t abandon the effort to help EVERY member of this family.


Emma said...

Couldn't just read and run without sending you all some love. It breaks my heart to hear how you guys are trying to get help, and it's just not there. Have you found any other services that could help? Even if it was a private one and between us, we crowdsource the funds to help with the cost? Wish there more I could do! You & Hannah are two of my favourite people, have always been there for me over the years. Never lose sight of the people you are, don't let the bastards drag you down ;)

Unknown said...

Wow Martyn! You and Hannah have been through the mill. I really hope that 2019 is a year when you can sort out these issues. Yes I guess it is one day at a time but must be hard and very frustrating at times. Much love to you all.

Lisa said...

I've dealt with bad SW's from this LA in a professional capacity, but this takes the biscuit even from my experience. I am very concerned for your personal safety and have been for some time. It is not your fault, it is not Hannah's fault. It's not even 'A's' fault. This child needs help NOW. He needs intensive therapeutic work and the rest and it needs to be NOW before it's too late and his brain is hardwired. I cannot tell you how sad this makes me. You are an amazing family and you don't deserve this at all.

Relentlesslypurple said...

I'm glad you've finally blogged about it all Martyn but gutted you're all being let down like this. It's disgusting someone who is supposed to be helping families is behaving this way and allowing A to go untreated by doing so. What about when A grows up? Have they not stopped to think about that, when you're not always around to blame? I severely hope your complaints are heard and action is taking asap, none of you deserve to go through this!

Unknown said...

Gosh Martyn. That sounds hellish and all the more frustrating when you (as one who has lots of experience with kids as an educator and parent).
I honestly find you get less help if you can vocalise the help you need.
Thank you for your honesty lovely X

BloggingMama101 said...

I'm so pleased you have Blogged & so sad to see so many failings in the system once again.

So much of this is painfully familiar to me & there is nowhere to go with it & it is exhausting.
I wish I had answers. All I have is empathy & moral support for you & Hannah 🤗🤗

Kim Carberry said...

I am so sorry that you, Hannah and the kids are going through this. "A" obviously needs help and it's a sad shame that you are not getting it despite asking. The social worker like the one you have are the reason people fear Social Sevices. Sending big hugs x

Plutonium Sox said...

Sorry to read that you, Hannah and the children are going through this Martyn. I have to say though, I was heartened to read both on Twitter and in your blog post that the school recognised that the SW had it in for you, it sounds like a great school that really has your back and cares about James. And as for living with someone who constantly trolls you... at least you can be glad you don't have to live with me ;)