‘I am not ashamed of losing my home. But people’s judgemental attitudes make it harder’

Published The Journal.ie;

 

Each morning, I wake up in my beautiful home of 18 years with my two ‘babes’ ( Shih Tzu dogs, Olliepop and Bettyboop) and gaze out my large open bedroom window at the expansive oak tree dominating the carefully nurtured garden, listening to the bird’s song. I drag myself out of bed ladened with despair and anger to buoyant dogs wanting their run in the back garden. I move along my home passing the wide sweep of the dining room, where I celebrated many family events, Christmas lunches, entertained my many friends, and displayed my passion for art. Then suddenly I am overwhelmed with anguish and tears flood my cheeks. My adorable dogs clamber onto my legs offering me solace sensing my state of mind.

Why am I in this trauma? In a cruel twist of fate, I am fighting for my home, my sanctuary, my lifeline where I nurtured my dreams and hopes and hid from my insecurities. I am in the middle of a repossession battle, a place I never believed I would be. A place probably so many people in the same situation never thought they would be. ‘I console myself that I’m one of the lucky ones because at least I don’t have a young family to worry about.’ However, the trauma of losing my home in my early fifties is not diminished by that fact.

My idyllic life unraveled with my marriage. The details are not important the impact is the same no matter how one loses a home. It’s a major trauma in anyone’s life. Ironically enough I slept as a homeless person as part of the Focus Ireland initiative to raise awareness of homelessness in Ireland. As I lay under the stars, in a ragged blue sleeping bag damping from the night dew, I cried at the thought of anyone having to experience the harshness and loneliness of homelessness. It was an unsettling experience.

However, with the ever-growing repossessions, there is very little understanding or research into the psychological impact of losing a home. Instead of having sympathy for such homeowners, many people blame them for their dilemma. That isn’t surprising. It’s an example of a general tendency as documented by social psychologists, Melvin Lerner decades ago, which I will detail further on in my story.

The pain and despair I suffer every day is inexplicable. And yet the reality of my life, the loss of my home is met by stern reproaches: The exchanges go something like this: “Repossession is not the end of the world. You will be a stronger person from this. You will move on to a better place. We never thought your marriage was good. The banks will do what they have to do. You are just another number in the bank’s records, that’s life, they have no provision for circumstances or trauma. Everyone has problems.” And finally the big one “get on with it.” The hard-core views and commentary are, in fact, winning the battle of public opinion.

So let me take the other perspective — against the stern view. It has to do with the psychological effects of the strict enforcement of a mortgage contract, and abstract economic statistics which just might make us overlook what is important.

Mortgage contracts are usually set over a period of twenty-five to thirty years and based on the fact that circumstances will remain static over a lifetime. There is no accounting for life’s unknown: divorce, death, job loss or mental health issues. Furthermore, there is no genuine support system in place to help struggling mortgage holders reduce their debt by for example ‘downsizing’.

The Central Bank concerns itself rightly so with borrowing costs and repayment potential. But it also needs especially in an environment where ‘job for life’ is over, with ‘growing separation statists’ and ‘mental health issues’ to reconsider the inflexibility of terms in an ever changing society. The ability to pay back a mortgage established on the first signing of the contract based on an anomaly that life’s circumstances never changes undermines its functionality completely. This inflexibility is devastating to so many people especially as there are real alternatives and options rarely exercised by the banks other than repossession. Believe me; no one deliberately sets out to rip apart the foundations of their home, their sanctuary in life by simply not making mortgage repayments, it is more commonly a change in life’s circumstances which create the fragmentation of home life and the loss of a home.

So back to Melvin Lerner commentary in his 1980 book, “The Belief in a Just World: A Fundamental Delusion,” where he puts up the argument that people want to believe in the inherent justice of the economic system. They want to believe that those who appear to be suffering are in fact responsible for their situations. He provides observational evidence that after an initial feeling of sympathy on-lookers develop adverse views toward those who are suffering. And this unsympathetic tendency seems to be at work today without any consideration for the deep trauma caused by losing a home and in most cases from circumstances out of one’s control.

And it is this detail that we need to start looking at more closely. The reasons and manner in which a deposition is occurring. There should be a legal obligation at most and a moral obligation at least on banks to look at the extenuating circumstance of mortgage problems with an open, flexible mind, offering solutions rather than a death knell of repossession. We need to fundamentally review our attitude to home repossessions and question our judgmental attitude to such circumstances. I am not ashamed of losing my home; I am desolate at losing my home.

My home was the crowning jewel of all my hard work, savings. Profits and plans for over 25 years. As I look out over the scene, it no longer feels like mine – mine to enjoy, mine to call home. I stand for a long time, remembering my daughter growing up here, her many birthdays, racing about with their friends, with family and pets. I am looking at a postcard of a lovely place, vibrant with color but just an image, a two-dimensional illustration of something that was real, but which I no longer embody. My life vein is draining, the happy memories altering. The pain is endless, the suffering unrelenting and ignorant judgment on top of all of that is soul destroying. However, I am a spirit who continues to strut her stuff without shame of repossession, but instead feeling shameful at my vulnerable and desperation.

I hope that maybe in some small way my story might start to change the thinking, the narrative about how we view and treat people who find themselves without a home and in the depth of gloom. I hope it begins to break the stigma and reproach that exists around repossession. I know I must continue the struggle for my home regardless of opinion or judgment so that my dreams can live on, my memories can be happy again so that homesickness does not become my enemy that stalks me forever.

After Emotional Abuse.

photo Heal

From The Narcissism Book of Quotes:

“One of the very difficult things to deal with after being the victim of a Narcissist is that most people will not want to believe what happened to you, even if they saw it with their own eyes.

Narcissist abuse can be most insidious. The abuser takes precautions so that there are no witnesses or hard evidence. He’ll tell others that he is being victimized and that the real victim’s reactions to his abuse are unprovoked and malicious or “irrational.” Destroying his target while attracting the attention he craves is a game to the the narcissist; one he enjoys and plays with confidence. A “normal” person is easy prey to a skilled and experienced manipulator lacking a moral conscience.

“[They] count on our shame to keep their secrets. They know that exposing them means exposing our own failings. That’s what makes them so powerful. They manipulate us into these situations then sit back and watch us squirm between protecting ourselves or blowing the whistle.”

The seasoned abuser is also highly selective. He will target people, like predators in the animal world who concentrate their efforts on prey that is separate from the herd, he is likely to choose someone who in whom he can sense vulnerability.

Emotional abuse is the most common form of abuse – and yet least talked about.

Unlike physical or sexual abuse, where a single incident constitutes abuse, emotional abuse is made up of a series of incidents, or a pattern of behavior that occurs over time. Emotional abuse is more than just verbal insults, the most common definition of emotional abuse. Emotional abuse is a series of repeated incidents – whether intentional or not – that insults, threatens, isolates, degrades, humiliates, and control, deceit.

I have taken the stand to share details about my mental abuse and the impact of that on my life. I believe that it’s important that if we have the strength and support to tell your story honestly then we owe it to all those who are suffering  in silence, for what ever reason, to do so.

Emotional abuse comes in many forms. Sometimes, it’s years worth of a boyfriend or girlfriend, husband or wife wearing you down; sometimes, it’s a romantic entanglement that takes a turn into this dangerous territory; it can even come in teenage dating. Whatever abuse you have suffered, you can begin to overcome the effects you’ve suffered today.

Why Am I Struggling to Move On After Abuse?7

Leaving an abusive relationship can be one of the hardest things a person does. But even after your abuser is out of your life, sometimes the emotional and mental effects from experiencing abuse can linger on. You may experience feelings of depression, guilt, anger, loss and even symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder:

  • Anxiety
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Being easily frightened or scared
  • Avoiding of stressful triggers that remind you of abuse
  • Difficulty maintaining relationships
  • Feeling emotionally numb

There is no one way to feel or heal after you leave an abusive relationship.

It may be hard to stop thinking about your old relationship. You may still think about the little comments that your he said to break you down, make you feel worthless or to make you think that you didn’t deserve better. You may even think about the nice things that they said and the good times that you had with them.

One of my number of times I tried to end it.
One of a few Attempts to End it.

Being in an abusive relationship, or leaving and getting back together more than once (which is very common) can hurt your self-esteem and make you doubt yourself. If you’re feeling bad, you may even question your decision to leave in the first place. The important thing to remember is that you did leave or found a way out and that took a lot of strength. Now it is time to channel your courage into healing and getting back to being a happy and healthy you.

The first step toward recovering from any type of traumatic experience is re-establishing your sense of safety. This means feeling confident that your ex won’t harm you anymore (whether that’s by cutting off contact, or even moving) and beginning to find stability in everyday life. Stability looks different for different people.

Second, give yourself some time to grieve. It’s normal to feel sad or angry for a while. It’s important to let yourself experience those feelings and to let them out, rather than bottling them up. There are lots of healthy ways you can do this — journaling, writing poetry or songs, creating art, exercising or dancing. In addition to being expressive, all of these activities can slowly help to restore your sense of power over your own life. They can remind you of your strengths and the beautiful things you are capable of creating.

Finally, you reconnect with ordinary life (in my case that’s still in the works, so take your time and don’t rush it ). It can be difficult to remember what life was like before an abusive relationship. You may feel emotionally closed off, and it can be hard to trust people again. Your ex-partner may have even physically isolated you from your friends and family, and you feel you have no one to turn to or that nobody could understand what you have been through.

There are always people to help. Remember psychotherapists understand all about emotional abuse and can be an enormous help to your recovery.

You Deserve to Feel Great

Although it may difficult, this is the time that you need to focus on you and your own happiness. You never did anything to cause this and you deserve to be happy and feel safe.

What you went through is not who you are.

Healing is a process and through it, you will remember how strong, capable and extraordinary you really are. You will have good and bad times, but every day free from abuse is another piece of yourself that you get back and, eventually, those pieces will come together.

Best of Luck and if you need  to ask me anything please don’t hesitate to send me an email in complete confidentiality with the form below;

3-Good-Days