Need help to help properly

Discussion in 'Welcome' started by Flo Pika, Jun 2, 2016.

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  1. Flo Pika

    Flo Pika New Member

    Hi guys,

    Quickly about me : 24yo illustration student about to complete my studies. History of self-harm in my teenage years, never suicidal. Besides some minor demons I manage to keep at bay, I guess I'm doing good.

    But like I said in the title, I'm not here for me.

    Yesterday my aunt tried to kill herself (for the 4th time in maybe two decades).
    So this has been going on for a really long time and somehow at first she wasn't able to help herself, then her friends and family didn't either, and it snowballed into her being in an abusive relationship with her husband, and being also abused by her oldest son, and with her youngest (adopted) she has a weird, smothering relationship.
    It's a really tricky situation, and I only know what I am told of it, which makes this post a bit blurry...

    I just want to know what I can do to help her, in my own way. How to act, what to tell her and what to do to make her feel maybe a bit better about herself.

    Thanks to all those of you who will answer,
    Take care.

    PS : I don't know if I should create a thread in the appropriate section or just post this one ? If this thread is ok, then I'll try to further explain the situation so you can understand it more accurately.
  2. WildCherry

    WildCherry Staff Member ADMIN

    This thread is fine. :) Welcome to the site, BTW.
    I think the best thing you can do is let her know you're there for her. Maybe, if you can find any, give her some options on how she can get out of her abusive relationship... if there are any shelters there for people who are being abused. I think support is especially important though, just letting her know you care.
  3. Flo Pika

    Flo Pika New Member

    Thanks for your welcome and your answer !

    Thing is, I'm not gonna be able to be there for her. As soon as the summer ends here (Belgium), I'm leaving to travel Europe for at least a few months. I'm thinking about sending her postcards, I think she'd really like that. I'll look up shelters in the area too.

    There are so many circumstances at play here. (and I am sorry in advance for the long post, I guess writing it down helps me)

    She has always been "special", that's what her family used to say, I think not always in the most uplifting way. She's basically a walking bleeding heart, oversensitive, artistic, intelligent.
    She had a miscarriage about 20, maybe 25 years ago. My guess is, since she already had some kind of mental issue, little as it was, it emerged there.
    Her husband used to be cool and all, and then it all went sideways at some point. He hits her, blames her for everything, controls her in every possible way, manipulates her and convinced her that she was worthless and powerless. He tried to kill himself too a few years ago and turned all his anger and rage and whatever else he's feeling towards her. He's a reputed botanist of some kind, used some rare plant for his suicide attempt, knowing there was no antidote in any close-by hospitals. Forgot helicopters exist, or didn't want to die either, I don't know.

    Her oldest son walks in his father's steps, they're basically the same guy at two different ages.

    Her second son is apparently nicer, but he's not particularly great either and doesn't really help, as far as I know.

    Her youngest is adopted, and grew up in a ducked up family, so he's not that stable either, sometimes he's kind, sometimes he's the 3rd abuser.

    Her only pleasures in life are photography and making those crazy good marmalades she's been selling in a local shop. But even those pleasures are being spoiled by the suffocating atmosphere she endures at home. Her husband tried and tried and tried to stop her from taking pictures (good ones I might add), from making her own money.

    She attempted to kill herself four times, and despite being a nurse and having all the possible "qualifications" (horrible word in such matters, sorry), failed four times. To me that's more of a desperate SOS than a desertion.

    I think at some point, being a nurse (and maybe because her family never took it seriously ? or the society she lived in 25 years ago ?), she convinced herself either that she wasn't sick/mental illnesses aren't real, or that she could deal with it by herself.
    Not acknowledging her state of mind eventually made it worse.

    In the last few years, she filed at least two complaints against her husband (and oldest son too I think) for hitting her. But she withdrew them. For any step she made towards help, she took two steps back. Her sisters and brother, her parents, the few friends she has have all tried to guide her, told her to seek help, to kick those *insert distinguished insult here* out, or to leave it all behind and just build herself a new life. Everytime, she goes back to needing her husband, putting herself in positions where she thinks he's the only solution. Everytime, she ends up even more devoted to him and to her family, until the next hit she takes. Any professional helper who tried to talk to her couldn't reach her. It's like she has some form of Stockholm Syndrom.

    I am convinced she is an extremely strong women who got fooled and is stuck in the worst possible life for her. She holds on to the past, to the dreams she had, of a happy family, maybe a successful carreer, and the present goes by her, without her.
    That or she's incredibly stupid. But she's not at all.

    I wish all my/our family would brainstorm and figure something out. This has been going on for too long. And we were all hoping she'd fix herself. Hoping we wouldn't have to jump in and really do something. Convincing ourselves that she would. She won't. She can't. She doesn't remember her strength. And it sucks.
  4. DrownedFishOnFire

    DrownedFishOnFire Seeing is Believing Forum Pro SF Supporter

    Hoping the best for your aunt. People are creatures of habit its hard for people to break away from it all.

    Battered women have a hard time breaking away from the abusive relationship. Sometimes just checking in and talking about normal things gives them the strength to break away or continue with life. She could be so isolated right now all you can do is offer your time to listen and talk about anything, sending a post card sounds great! Which of your parent is she related to? Talk to that parent how you feel about this situation
  5. Flo Pika

    Flo Pika New Member

    Hi guys and sorry for not replying early - end of the year at school and stuff.

    I'm also a bit sorry for what I have to say next.

    Turns out my aunt is in a way worse mental shape than we all thought.
    You have to understand that we (the rest of the family) haven't been really in touch with her for a while because of some dark reason I never fully understood. We never go to her place, never see her out of Christmas or Easter, we never lived with her and the only things we know of her life are the ones she tells us.

    She has spent years talking to everyone about how her husband and oldest son abuse her and are violent... when she's the one pushing them as far as a human can take before they eventually lose it.
    My uncle (my aunt's and my mother's brother), who is a cop, has been in contact with the husband and the sons, and they basically can't take anymore. She's an alcoholic and she takes medicines she doesn't need. I'll spare you (most of) the details. She basically turned everyone against her husband and son, when she's actually the one being impossible to live with. She creates situations, then lies about it (for example, she once "escaped" her house by the bathroom window and got cuts and bruises in the process. She then told everyone that it was her husband who hit her and hurt her that way).

    The day of her last suicide attempt, she first wanted to blow up the house with gas (with her son inside I think !), then decided it was too smelly, so she chose to jump off a nearby bridge. Her youngest son saw her leave the house and followed her, found her at the bridge and talked her down. He's like 13. He's adopted. He had to make her promise she wouldn't take her life, she wouldn't strip him of his second mom. They came home and then she locked herself in the basement and took a load of pills, some of them went down the wrong way and she ended up with a massive pneumonia.
    She stayed under oxygen for a week, foggy, and then one day she managed to get her husband come to "get her clean clothes" when she actually was waiting for him to take her home. He actually visited her every day, like her brother and my mother, and she told no one. They visited every day too. And she just didn't care.

    I'm afraid we have all been duped and manipulated into her schemes, and ended up hating a guy who was just exhausted by the constant yelling, drinking and manipulation. He used to love taking walks in their village but hasn't in years because of what she told everyone. Everyone looks at him with judgment.
    He tried to kill himself a few years ago because he was physically and mentally exhausted and he wanted out.

    It is a very, very complicated situation and unfortunately there is nothing we can do legally. You can't force someone to get help or be commited unless someone actually dies or there are critical wounds involved. She is in too deep and led us all to believe it was her husband's fault. We all forgot that she tried to kill herself before she even met the guy. She's had mental health issue since she was a teen.

    So.... I should probably join a Mental Health forum instead of this one...because this is not about suicide anymore. As ugly as it sounds, it feels way worse this way.
  6. Flo Pika

    Flo Pika New Member

    PS : just want to add that the tricky part is not knowing who to trust ; she's family, she's blood, and it's hard to go against that core feeling ; since we disliked/hated her husband for many years, it's hard to trust him either ; maybe even harder to trust their oldest son, since he's blood too, and hits his mother, which feels like an abomination ; no one knows what to do or think, and no one knows who to believe - I think we (at least I) wish we could stay naive, and stick to the original story, and find a solution together and we'd live happily ever after. But real life is a mess, the bad guys come in every shapes and sizes, and we can't be naive anymore.
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