Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse


I was subject to emotional neglect, abuse and violence as a child. I can't talk about that in detail. I married an alcoholic.

I did not understand what alcoholism was, or what it meant. I had to discover for myself just how capable my husband was of lying, stealing, manipulating and destroying my reputation. He told everyone that I drove him to drink. It was truly shocking how many people believed it; his alcohol counsellors, his family, his friends. Somehow his drinking was my fault, and somehow he got the sympathy.

When he went into hospital he told the doctors I wanted him out of the house so that I could have other men. He constantly accused me of having affairs. I acted as his advocate, and tried to help him. In return he blamed me.

Even my own family did not support me. They wanted me to divorce him immediately and 'get rid' of him. We had a young daughter - just a toddler - and I tried to explain that people cannot just be discarded. There had to be a process, and our daughter had to come first in that process. I was working at the time, and I could not afford a divorce.

He was in psychiatric hospital three times because he was having disturbing hallucinations. He heard voices - my voice - telling him that I wanted him dead. He was then in alcohol rehab for a year and a half.

After that time he got a job, and I let him come home for a final chance. We had separate rooms. Within months he was drinking again, so I told him to leave. He said he wouldn't. There were several fraught weeks; it was a very frightening time. Eventually he did leave.

I can't really say any more than that, because the memories are too difficult to deal with.

Within weeks of him leaving I was diagnosed with depression, and a couple of years later this diagnosis was refined to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I have never dated anyone again; I am far too afraid to take the chance.

In more recent assessments it was found that I have complex PTSD, due to childhood issues, and I am also dissociative. I am very broken.

Our daughter is now at university. Her dad died when she was 18. His mother and sister have had nothing to do with her in the 3 years since then; they behave as if we died when he did. We have done nothing to deserve this.

Alcoholics have endless counselling, endless support and rehabilitation. All these years later, and the damage he did to me has never been addressed. The childhood issues remain hidden and forgotten. I have to simply find a way to get from one day to the next, and protect my daughter. Neither she nor I drink.

I am highly social phobic, very anxious. There is no treatment for me; I am forgotten.

I have been abused so many times, by so many people, that now it is far safer just to stay at home. I have learned that it is always my fault for being there, not their fault for treating me badly. The human rights act applies to other people, but for some unknown reason beyond me to understand, it does not apply to me.

Even my own parents say this when there is a family disagreement; 'You can look after yourself, but it is not right to treat your daughter badly.'

A year ago I was treated badly by my Vicar. I was a Church Officer, I had a breakdown from overwork and he threw me out. I told the Archdeacon, and I said I am a vulnerable adult. The church did nothing. the Vicar is still there, I was told to find another church.

Why is it apparently ok to treat me badly? Why does the church bullying policy not apply to me, nor the clergy standards document apply in relation to how I was treated? Why does the Human Rights Act and the Disability Discrimination Act not apply to me?

I will never understand any of this.

I asked my doctor to find me some help. He said I am more of an expert in my condition than he is, and to find the place to go for myself. He said he will write the letter for me. I went back and saw another doctor when my Vicar treated me badly, and tried to tell her what happened. She told me I am too sensitive and to grow a thicker skin. She said what the church does is nothing to do with her.

I have a very serious mental health condition, and no help whatsoever. Nothing.

I cannot straighten out how I think about the world until I see some evidence that my safety and protection is taken seriously. All I have ever found is that I am ignored and forgotten. The neglect carries on. And every day that it continues I become more convinced that I can never escape from it. If I tried to consider that I deserve better I think my heart would break.

[Added by Admin - apologies to the author of this piece for the delay in publishing. We are a team of volunteers and try to publish all submissions in the order they are sent to us. This resulted in a delay for this piece, for which we apologise]


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2 thoughts on “Neglected

  • Michaela says:

    Hi Cathy

    Your story has really touched me. You do deserve to be protected. You do deserve to be supported and you deserve the love and care every other person deserves. Sadly those who have traumatic childhoods often feel they don’t deserve the things others take for granted like love and safe relationship simply because it is foreign to us. Still I for one care for you.

    You are never responsible for the actions of others. Your husband drank because he wanted to and it seems he was offered help to change. Yes change is difficult but he had the support needed to make these changes. You could not change him only he could. Yes he needed support and he got it. You too needed support as did your daughter and I am sorry so many people have not met your needs. Still dont give up trying as you deserve the support to help you live the life you want and deserve.

    Your dr was totally insensitive in telling you to grow a thicker skin. She should of seen how upset and troubled you was and referred you for help. I would go back and ask to see another dr. Could you maybe take a advocate with you? I know SEAPS offer advocacy but I think you have to have made a complaint against a nhs service. Victim support maybe able to help you as they offer support to all victims of crime. Rape crisis maybe a good starting point. Some have knowledge of dissociation. I have DID and have found Watford Rape Crisis to be very knowledgeable. Then there is the Pottergate Clinic who specialise in dissociative disorders. They can write letters on your behalf and help you get therapy if this is what you want. First person plural and Positive Outcomes for dissociative survivors have a lot of information for survivors and also helplines. PODS have a list of therapists who are trained in the field of dissociation.

    I really do hope you get the support you deserve. Remember to reach out to others and know I for one do care about you.


  • portiasmart says:

    Hi Cathy.
    Thank you for sharing your voice with us. I am so very sorry for the hurt, pain and abuse you have experienced. I believe you. You deserve support, love, belief, safety and to be heard. I manage complex PTSD daily and I am managing to recover well. If you wish to get some support, please comment here or contact EVB and I will try and link you to some resources. For now, this post that I wrote about PSTD may provide some options xxx http://portiasmart.wordpress.com/2013/10/01/being-is-bewildering/