- Maya Angelou
All my life I've been trying to escape my abusers: my guardians: my guardian abusers. The people who adopted me when I was a child.
I did this most consciously and conscientiously from the age of 12. In these ten years I have made little progress. When I thought I was making progress, I would slip into my old naive habits. I would forget to look over my shoulder; forget to anticipate all the cruel and unusual ways they could get to me. And again, they have.
I think I need to give a brief background to this; it's probably the only way any of it will make sense.
I went into care at the age of 15, having struggled with limited success to advocate for my right to a safe home environment. I tried to keep them out of my life. I never wanted to see them again. Unfortunately it was a voluntary care order: meaning they were still my legal guardians until I reached 18. Every time I've seen them, from the age of 15 onwards, has been in someway traumatic to me.
At first, I struggled to sever the tie completely because of this lingering 'guardianship'. I also felt some misguided sense of responsibility when it came to the safety of their younger child, (who was technically my adoptive 'sister'). I felt guilty for leaving her behind. I fought hard to maintain a relationship with her; she was the one person in the world with whom I shared my childhood.
She was also a victim of abuse, and I waited patiently for the day she would emancipate herself, and come live with me. Or just come live. I wanted her to have a shot at life, but I guess I was still struggling with my own. I wasn't much of a role model. Still, I don't believe there was anything I could have done to protect her. I know in my heart I did everything I could and for the first time, I have actually achieved a sense of closure about the residual responsibilities and obligations I might once have had. I have to look out for myself now. She is an adult and I no longer feel obliged to help her. She's perfectly capable of making her own choices. She had me as validation; she threw that back in my face. Furthermore, it becomes more and more obvious that her choices do not consider me, or my life, and that her parents are living through her in their attempts to get to me. Her parents protean abuse of me always centered on the fact that I "deserved" it. According to them, I was an evil, horrible and disgusting child; I was lucky to have them, because no one else wanted me. It has become increasingly apparent that their daughter would rather believe this than admit her parents did something wrong. And there's nothing I can do to change that. On top of this, Ruth, (their daughter), has coincidentally (God forbid I suggest it was anything other than coincidence) acquired some developmental psychopathology all of her own. This was also a strain on our relationship, to the point where I questioned if my presence in her life would ever be constructive.
Anyway, so far, so decided.
The next issue is the question of my adoptive father. Growing up we had a strange relationship. His wife, (my 'adoptive mother'), was textbook Munchausen's/Munchausen's by proxy, and he lived in constant fear of her. Because of this, I still feel bad for him. He was the primary caregiver, as well as the primary benefactor of the physical abuse I suffered, so I found myself torn between wanting to forgive him and wanting to hate him throughout my teenage years. He was probably the strongest bond I formed as a child. In fact, he was the only person in that entire family (extended or otherwise), who admitted to me, even if just to my face, that the things that happened in that house were wrong. He told me he would always feel guilty, and I believe him. I know that he is a deeply religious man, and although I could care less for the hypocrisies of the church, I hope that if there is a God he will save him. Because I can't.
And then there is this other person. This one person, (who I struggle to distance myself from even as I write this), is probably the most evil person I would ever care to meet. The last time I saw her, my blood went cold, and I struggled to leave the house for days. She "accidentally" showed up on the first day of my 2nd year at university. I was sitting among a group of my friends, so happy to be back amongst them, talking about everything we'd gotten up to over the summer. Out of nowhere, I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned around to see my 'sister'. I asked her who she was there with, feeling that old familiar terror rise within me. Ruth pointed across the amphitheatre, and there this person was, standing across from me, staring, with no reason to be there, just "coincidence".
I bring her up because I have reason to believe this woman is still out to destroy me. My first compelling piece of evidence would be the fact that she tried to destroy me as a child. The rest of my compelling evidence is based around her past refusals to respect my privacy, her controlling and invasive behaviour, her use of her own husband and daughter to get information about me, as well as the countless strange events over the past few years where Ruth or my "adoptive father" have mentioned things to me that I would never have told them. They have obviously had access to information that could only be gathered from a) stalking me or b) hiring someone else to stalk me. For example, changes in my address, my performance at university, my dropping out of university. In fact, I once had my entire academic record in university mailed to me, which I had apparently requested according to the university's records. Creepy, much?
So I hope by now you will have realised I am not a paranoid delusional. Even if I was, it would still feel no less creepily insane.
As I already mentioned, I have tried to reduce my contact with these people over the past few years. I have tried to keep the contact on my terms. I had begun to withhold more and more information, to keep myself safe and distant, (to the point where I couldn't actually have a conversation with them because I was scared I would accidentally disclose something).
On Friday, I received a phone call to my mobile phone from them. (Regrettably, they have my mobile phone number as I allowed Ruth to use it to ring me. I've been kicking myself over this because I like this number and I'm sick of changing numbers.) Usually I dismiss these calls and delete any related voicemails. Usually I am not up to hearing them. Usually they are the last thing on my mind, and I like it that way. But for some reason, I was in good spirits last week. I was with my boyfriend at the time, and he encouraged me to listen to the voicemail so I did. It was my 'adoptive father'. He said he was going to Turkey next week. He said he hadn't heard from me in ages, and he seemed genuinely worried and innocuous. He is a meek and seemingly harmless man, so I decided against my better judgment to return the call. I got through to my adoptive 'sister'. I told her to pass on to her father that I had returned his call, and hung up. I wasn't even sure if I wanted to talk to him anyway. Later on that day I missed two calls, but neglected to return them.
On Sunday I missed another call, to which there was a voicemail. On Monday I got around to listening to the voicemail. Again it was a fairly innocuous message about how he was going away and how he wanted to know how I was keeping. He said he would be free from 1-2pm to take my call. I decided to return the call at the time he suggested despite the fact that I was having lunch with a friend, (in reality this was opportune because I could use it as an excuse to end the conversation, if needed). He answered the phone and seemed surprised that it was me. He asked me how I was keeping, and I replied that I was doing ok. He asked me where I was staying these days. I said in Cork. He sounded surprised and repeated, "in Cork?". I said, "yes, in Cork, where I've always been." This was a lie, I'd moved to another town about 2 months ago. He mumbled a disbelieving, "oh, right" and the conversation stumbled on towards money, (which they have plenty of). He asked if I was working. I told him I was no longer employed but was unlikely to find something due to the current economic downturn. He countered with a few token statements about the state of the economy. He asked me if I needed anything. I said no. Things could be better but things could also be a lot worse. I was fine. Then I ended the conversation on the premise that our food had arrived.
Two hours later, I missed another phone call, to which there was a voicemail. I listened to the voicemail and it was my adoptive father stating that he'd put some money into my bank account for me. (This is an account I've had since childhood: yet another reminder of their link to me.) I was strangely touched that he would do that, and I was also happy because I needed it. I decided to ring him to thank him before he went off on his travels. This conversation was worse. We were struggling for conversation, as per usual, when he asked me if I still wrote. I replied that I did occasionally, and that I had thought of writing for the student paper at university, but had not found the time to do so because of my course. He asked me if I would ever consider going back to my course. I said, "what do you mean go back to my course?". He said, "to finish it". I asserted that I had finished it. He said, "Oh, I meant go on to do your masters or PHD..", and trailed off. Now I have been keeping up this charade of being successful at university for as long as I can remember. I never wanted my failure at university to ever get back to them. I had took every imaginable step to make sure it didn't. And obviously, it wasn't enough.
Now I'm sitting here, in the town I thought I was safe in, knowing that they probably know where I am. I've pinned it down to two things: either they have access to the address on my bank account or they have hired a private detective. How they figured out I'd dropped out of university is anyones guess, but they still would have had to go to lengths. This is not surprising behaviour from them, but for some reason it has completely thrown me. I feel hunted. I thought I had escaped to some extent. I had never realised they could use that bank account to get information about me. I feel like a complete idiot.
Now I have to close that bank account and start a new one. However, there are only two banks in this town. And both I've had accounts with. Meaning there will probably have to be some sort of paper trail leading one to another. And these people know so much information about me they could probably impersonate me.
It has also spurred me to fast-track my plan to change my identity. This is something I'd been vaguely planning, but now I want to have it completed before I officially cut ties with them, (which will let them know that I'm onto them and probably result in even more snooping). I want the trail to go dead before then. I don't want them to ever get to me ever again.
At this point, I would nearly consider moving country. I just don't want it to come to that. I'm so scared of running, and I have friends here. I am so sick of them fucking up my life.
I honestly wish they would die. Although, the scary part is they would probably find new ways to haunt me.
I don't even know what advice anyone here could give me. I don't even know what advice I'd be able to get from masters of espionage. I just want to disappear.
I really don't know what to do, this is so upsetting to me. I know I have to cut contact but I feel like it's too late.
Apologies if I have missed any possible triggers in this cut.