a picture of magnifying glass

Choose from website modes:

a picture of global
question mark icon
I need help now
Get information on how to get help in an emergency.
Click to leave website and go to Google.
May 13, 2024

Family and domestic violence - my life story

Prior to my autism diagnosis at age 63, I always took the blame for all my problems, even when it came to family and domestic violence.

Content warning: Family and domestic violence, bullying, coercive control, complex post-traumatic stress disorder, sexual abuse, isolation, mental health, hallucinations
This content has a custom transcript:

Prior to my autism diagnosis at age 63, I always took the blame for all my problems, even when it came to family and domestic violence. Because of my autism, I think differently. I did not even realise this until my diagnosis. I simply did not understand why I was so often misunderstood and why I often missed what others meant. I have been bullied, invalidated and taken advantage of all my life.

I have always felt very much on the outside of society. My clumsy and straightforward communication style fostered resentment. I always tried really hard to try to be like other people, but I failed and was often riddled with guilt due to my failures.

My father’s and brother’s cruelty and invalidation of my own feelings and finally the family’s shame over my teen pregnancy and abortion forced me to leave home. I was 16 and vulnerable.

My first intimate relationship failed due to my partner’s alcoholism and drug dependence. I tried to find a partner who would protect, or buffer, me from the world. Unfortunately, I only ever found violent partners, so to protect myself, I gave up trying over 30 years ago. I didn’t know it then, but I had developed complex PTSD. This caused me to just shut down when threatened or when I couldn’t understand someone.

My son’s father would provoke me until I screamed at him. One time he punched me so hard that he broke my neck. He said I “made him do it”. I thought it was my fault. I now realise that it wasn’t a case of him losing control, he was actually manipulating me. The injury caused permanently recurrent severe headaches.

The pregnancy with my son was unplanned. I lost my career. It was a difficult birth. My baby wouldn’t sleep for more than 2 hours at a time for the first 9 months and I was exhausted. My partner complained bitterly that I no longer initiated sex. I never refused him, but that was not good enough. I felt like a prostitute. I now know what coercive control is. I became a single mum because of my partner’s violence - I became a single mum to protect my son.

Because I came from somewhere else, I was not a “local” in the rural community where my son and I lived. I believe this, and my single mother status, made me “fair game” for bullying. And worse, my undiagnosed autism and cPTSD meant I struggled to stand up for myself. The school my son first attended humiliated and ostracised me. They left me off the family tree of the local history book, which I only found out from the wall poster at the public book launch. We changed schools. But at age 6, my son was run over by his school bus just before Christmas. My son told me that the “local” boys made faces at him from the back window of the bus as he lay on the road with a broken leg. They didn’t tell the driver and the bus drove off - the driver unaware. When I informed the school principal of the accident, he told me that if I complained he would change the bus route, to not pick up my son.

The hospital didn’t put the leg in plaster because of extensive soft tissue damage. We were sent home under instruction to elevate his leg, and for him to stay in bed until the swelling went down and plaster could be applied. Despite my sharing this important care information with his father he insisted on his “right” to see his son at Christmas. Moving was extremely painful for my son and standing by helplessly watching this was traumatic for me.

To add to our troubles … just a few days after this, on 28 December, I had an accident at work and couldn’t drive for 6 months. I felt a complete failure as a mother. I suffered hallucinations of my son squashed on the road like a roadkill possum. A psychiatric nurse was assigned for weekly home visits.

I continued to experience family violence despite my attempts to reinvent relationships. At a gathering commemorating my mother’s life, my brother and father humiliated me in front of our extended family. Bursting into tears, I ran from the room to cower in a foetal position outside. After this incident, my father disinherited me. My uncle said that my father might have treated me differently if I had a better attitude.

It has been very hard to witness my now adult son seeking a relationship with his father, despite the abuse we both suffered at his hands. It makes things worse that now when he visits from interstate, the time he spends with his father reduces time he can spend with me.

My daughter in law was cruel and manipulative at a recent Christmas gathering just after my cancer surgery. This forced my son to take sides. I’m deeply saddened that her contempt towards me negatively affects my relationship with my son. Christmas has become intolerable for me.

Each instance of family and domestic violence and society’s rejection has increased my sense of personal isolation from the rest of humanity and reinforced my sense of being a worthless person. I struggle with a persistent feeling that I can’t do anything right. I’ve lived on my own since my son left home.

I am now in the care of a psychologist, getting help with cPTSD and learning how to look after myself in a “neurotypical” world. I take as much time out as I need and accept that I need time out from people. I do creative things to improve my self-worth, health and fitness.

Send us a message

Do you have some feedback about this website?
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.