I’ve had an urge to share my story for many years but have never found the right person to be on the receiving end. I’m so grateful that I have finally found this site as an outlet.
From the beginning..
I grew up in London, United Kingdom. I have lived on the same street my entire life. I am the only daughter, third in line with three brothers. I had a good childhood with loving parents. Although now looking back it’s because I didn’t understand or was blissfully unaware to much that was happening around me growing up. I was spoilt from all angles for being the only girl in my household and the first granddaughter to my extended family.
From a young age I knew my 2 older brothers were trouble. I will call them Tom (Oldest) and Sam (Directly older than me). They were/are the black sheep of the entire family. Growing up they were always in trouble. There isn’t much I didn’t see them do. Stealing, fighting, drugs, prison. Later I learnt the cause of their behaviour and it changed my entire world forever. But as a child I always had hope for them. I remember telling myself that one day they would grow up. Of course they would change. Maybe all young adults are like this. One day they will of course be like my uncles, suited and booted going to work and living like civilised adults. This hope got me through the craziness they bought to my childhood.
A few memories come to mind. I must have been around 8 or 9. My father who is a mechanic always had cars around him that belonged to customers. Sam decided that he would steal the keys to a customer’s car and take it for a joyride. He is five years older than me so must have only been around 14 at the time. When we realised the car was missing, my father was livid. My father is a good man, he may not be educated but he worked hard his entire life to provide for us. Looking at how he dealt with these situations now, I feel he didn’t know what to do except deal with them the way his own father would have if it were him. That night when my brother finally returned in the early hours, my father beat him. I remember hearing the screams and covering my ears, rocking back and forward whilst singing nursery rhymes to block it out. When I imagine myself I feel sorry for that child. This particular time I remember feeling like I needed to see what was happening when it all went quite. I crept to the banister and peeked down into the living room and there was Sam sitting on the sofa with blood running out his nose. I was so frightened that I ran straight to my room, dove into bed and clenched my eyes shut trying to erase the image from my mind.
Another time, a similar situation with Tom happened where he stole a customer’s car but went missing for a few days. When he got back I remember standing in the kitchen when he walked in. My dad grabbed his head and smacked it against the refrigerator twice before my mum started screaming and I started crying. Tom ran upstairs holding his head. These 2 memories are just 2 of many.
During these crazy years growing up me and my little brother Timmy were as close as best friends. Although not lavish, we certainly had the best my parents could provide. We had family days out (never with my older brothers) and plenty of good times that make me smile when I think about them. My mum always thanked god for us because we were angels compared to my older brothers. I remember one time my mother and I went shopping. At the checkout when she went to pay she couldn’t find her money. She accused me of stealing from her the way my older brothers always would. I was so hurt and angry. She later found the money and cried to me, apologising over and over again. I felt sorry for her in that moment.
We grew up very close to my grandparents and uncles, all from my dad’s side. My mum’s family all lived abroad so we rarely saw them. I loved my extended family. I grew up idolising my uncles and wanting to be successful and well educated like them. They in return loved me too, always supporting me and taking time to take an interest in me, my education, goals etc. We were as close a family as any.
By the time Tom was 16 years old he was completely addicted to heroin. I was only 7 years old so I don’t really remember much about it except the time I came home from school to find the living room in darkness with him laying on the sofa looking very unwell and sweating. There was a bucket next to him which to my disgust had a green liquid in it. My mum was sat in a nearby chair staring at him. I remember asking my mum what was wrong with him. She said he is just unwell, you go and play, which I did. But even back then at such a young age I knew something was very wrong.
A week later I witnessed Tom so weak that he was unable to walk 3 meters to the car. My dad picked him up like he was a baby and carried him. Later in life I learnt that Tom had nearly died on the operating theatre as surgeons fought to save him from a highly complex intestinal infection from overbearing heroine abuse. They had to cut out part of his intestines because they had dried up and become stuck together. I remember going to visit him in hospital. He lifted his shirt and I recoiled behind my mum when I saw his cut. It reminded me of a crocodiles back from the middle of his chest all the way past his belly button. That image has never left me.
At the age of 18 Tom went to prison for 7 years. He was still addicted to heroin when he left. Sam followed him around the same age for two and a half years. He was also addicted to heroin when he left. That left me to live my teenage years in a normal environment. Those were the best years of my life. Although I loved and missed my older brothers. I didn’t understand many of their decisions and as all teenagers, I was very self concerned anyway. I became a bit of a rebel, smoking and messing around with boys but nothing too drastic. I was very focused on my education at the same time. I had big dreams for the future and passed secondary school with flying colours.
At the age of 18 my life changed forever as I learned both my older brothers were sexually abused by a man we trusted as a tutor. My oldest was also abused by one of my uncles who as I said earlier I loved growing up and was very close to. This destroyed me. It felt like one day I woke up and my whole world had crumbled. I had lost half my family and was told a person I had looked up to my whole life, a father figure, was a paedophile. I hated myself for still loving him and not being able to switch it off. I blamed myself for not doing something to prevent it. It was a very complex set of emotions that I was too young to recognise. I became very lost in grief.
Sam went back into the circle of drug abuse which he is still very much in at this current moment in time. He only stayed clean for a few short years after he came out of prison. Tom, rather than self inflicting his pain like Sam did, threw it outwards at the closest people around him, us, his parents and siblings. My mum cried everyday and my dad was like a mute ball of stress. I went off the rails. Started smoking weed, destroyed my education and left my degree unfinished, started having sex, got pregnant, had an abortion, suffered P.T.S.D and depression. I grieved for my brother’s pain in those drug fuelled days but hated them at the same time for torturing us. Tom used to scream in my mum’s face, spit flying about what had happened to him. He even slapped and strangled her once because she shouted back. He ended up marrying the most evil human I have ever encountered in my life. She just fuelled his anger and pain. He attacked me once when I told him I couldn’t bare to hear about it, he screamed in my face calling me a selfish brat that got everything. I hated everyone with a passion in this period of my life.
Sam self destructed. Having fights and wars, killing himself on heroin. Having children all over the place. Currently he has 5 baby mothers and 8 children. He is still battling his addiction but I have given up trying to help him.
I nearly killed myself, taking all the strain to send him to rehab about 2 years ago. Finding an appropriate clinic, paying £4,000, leaving home at 4am, travelling 5 hours to the north of England, sitting in the consultation with the doctor listening to the level of abuse he has done to his own body over the years. Day 2 he calls me screaming in pain and crying like a baby telling me to come and get him. Me crying with him telling him he can do this and please don’t give up. I nearly had a mental breakdown being strong for him. Not having the strength but finding it somewhere deep inside me to be there for him. Only for him to leave on day 4 of his own back and come back. Fuck you! That’s the last time I tried to help him.
I have been through many episodes of anxiety and depression over the years. The emotions are intense but I’m at a point of my life, aged 30 that I need to let go of everything that has happened before this point. My life is in bits with no real future prospects at this moment but this can’t be it. I have to change it before it’s too late. My personal story outside of my family is an entirely separate one..