I wrote a few days ago to explain why I’ve not been writing much. One of the reasons for this was the police video statement I had to give on Tuesday. I wasn’t sure I could share that news until I’d got the go ahead from the Detective in charge of my case.
What came before the statement, however, was equally important. A few weeks prior, I’d phoned the police to report the sexual abuse I was subjected to almost 20 years ago. I called the ‘non-emergency’ police number and gave minimum details. They needed to know my brother’s address and date of birth as well as a brief description of what he’d done to me back then.
The officer in charge of my case called me the following day to talk me through the next steps. It was clear to me that they were taking the allegations very seriously. He mentioned that he had contacted social services down where my brother lives to alert them to the situation with the unborn child. Just that part alone made it feel like I’d done the right thing.
I spent all my therapy sessions with J in the next weeks preparing for giving my statement. She kindly agreed to come with me and sit in the control room to watch the video feed on the screens, in case I was in danger of dissociating. I asked her to intervene if things looked like they were headed that way.
It was really hard preparing for this huge life event without any of my family supporting me. I can’t tell them what’s going on until my brother is arrested / questioned. I don’t trust them not to warn him about it, and I don’t want him to have time to prepare himself. That’s why having J around was so important.
Unfortunately, I haven’t reached a point at which I want my wife to hear the details of what I went through, so this added to my sense of isolation. I was just about struggling through, keeping my head above water, when our home life was wrecked by our housemate.
I say ‘housemate’, but actually he is one of my closest friends. I met him in a treatment centre and his understanding of depression and addiction has been a great help to me since we moved in together. I felt like we were pretty good at keeping each other out of trouble, right up to the point he was admitted to hospital after overdosing a few months ago.
That rocked my confidence, but I reminded myself of my own relapses and how they do happen. After things settled down a bit I felt as though I could trust him again. And so a few days before I had to take possibly the most frightening step of my life, I was shocked when he proved me wrong.
He was brought home on the Friday night by strangers who found him in the street, soaking wet and bloody. He was utterly wasted, he’d drunk a load of vodka and taken god knows how much Valium he’d bought online. The worst thing was, he was out of control. He wanted to harm himself, and my wife and I had to restrain him while he violently fought to smash his head on our table or shove past us to try and find pills.
When the police and paramedics arrived and took him to the hospital, I just couldn’t make myself go with him. Not after he’d been so abusive. Not after he’d broken my trust. And especially not after he had been so aggressive to my wife. It felt like a devastating betrayal.
I realised, as soon as my wife and I had finished cleaning up the blood and debris, that we just can’t live with him anymore. Neither of us feel safe in our own home and that is really not healthy. But this was the last thing I needed to be worrying about while dealing with the police stuff too. It was like I’d been 95% freaking out and somehow this anxiety level had been doubled.
So I had to be assertive. I had to set boundaries. I had to say things he didn’t want to hear. All of that is a million miles outside of my comfort zone. I’ve been working on these things in CoDA, but I wasn’t really prepared. I cried a lot. I felt like a horrible person, selfish, hypocritical and a bad friend. It almost felt like grief; it was like some naive trust and hope in our friendship had died and knowing this hurt me deeply.
Now my wife and I are left with a huge financial burden. We don’t know if we can pay the rent on our own, and if we do, we won’t be able to afford to go out much. I might have to sell my car. I was hoping to go back to college in September to start a course in Psychotherapy and that’s definitely not going to happen.
We also know that renting out the spare room isn’t an option. We need some time together. Our marriage has taken a hammering over the past year, with my breakdown and hospitalisation and all the worry that caused. My wife and I haven’t lived alone together in over a year now, and I acknowledge that this isn’t good for our relationship. Especially when there’s a great deal of repair work to do.
Now I am desperately trying to force things to settle down, packing up his stuff and rearranging ours so it feels more like our own home. But I am swamped in uncertainty. My closest friendship is on the rocks, my financial situation is precarious, I’ve got to wait weeks for the police to question my brother and I am unsure of how explosive this news will be within my family.
I loathe being patient. I despise the powerlessness in merely waiting; the helplessness in resolving to sit and wait for the avalanche to roll down from above.