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Serious Situation At Home - Advice Required - Carers UK Forum

Serious Situation At Home - Advice Required

For issues specific to caring for someone with mental ill health.


New member here looking for some advice. Long post incoming.

I am a 27yr old guy caring for my mum who has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. I have been doing this for several years and my experience has been full of ups and downs. However what I am currently experiencing is an absolutely dreadful situation and I simply don't know how to even begin to resolve it.
I live with my mum (57) and dad (62) at a small flat in London. The problem is my dad is deliberately making my mum (mentally and physically) ill through psychological abuse, verbal abuse, intimidation and violence.
As a result I have noticed that she has stopped taking her medication (for other underlying conditions), begun talking to herself again, appears vacant and lethargic,become incredibly suspicious (she has frequently started saying people have entered the flat and stolen/changed items) and finally my mum just looks confused and worn out. The way my dad treats my mum is truly disturbing.
Here's just a brief list of some of the things he does.

Verbally abuses her every single day. This includes name calling, excessive swearing and shouting (e.g. f-words, name calling references to female genitalia and wh**re) ,derogatory comments about her appearance, negative comments in relation to her mental illness and intelligence. Accuses her of pretending to be ill.

Forces her to get up early every morning. Every single morning begins with my dad verbally abusing my mum until she gets up. He often says that because he decides to get up at 3AM in the morning, she should therefore be able to get up early.

Forces her to stay up until midnight or later to fix his dinner simply because it is more convenient for him. When dinner isn't up to scratch or presented properly swearing and derogatory comments ensue.

Forces my mum to hand over money from her ESA/DLA(both are in a joint claim for esa). Although my dad uses frequently coercion to get her hand over more than he is entitled to. The money is used to fund trips abroad, pay debts and the purchase of various items for personal use.

My mum is forced to do house chores nearly all the time. She virtually has to be a domestic maid and do whatever my dad says. If she argues back, she is told not to speak back and threatened with violence/abuse. Time limits are imposed on chores. For example if food isn't warmed up with 2mins, a cup of tea isn't made correctly or something isn't done fast enough then it will invariably be followed up with verbal abuse and threats.

If she is 'caught' watching TV, taking a nap or just standing around looking out the window then she will verbally abused.It's almost like she can't be seen doing 'nothing'. He justifies this by making comparisons to himself ie. I'm going out and doing things around the house so you should be able to those things too without fail too!

He has hit her quite a few times recently. First few occasions were because she was saying something delusional. When she talks to herself and says made up things he aggressively threatens her if he hears it. The most recent time he punched mum in the arm simply because she wouldn't ring my younger sister(22) to obtain money from her. When I confronted him about this he said it was 'just a tap' and 'there's no marks on her'.

That's just some of things that are making my life a living hell (I'm also subjected to verbal abuse and criticism ) and it makes being a carer unnecessarily more difficult than it should be. I also have my own mental health problems (ocd and depression) and feel like there isn't a way out. This issue has had such a negative impact on me mentally. I feel so isolated and hopeless. I have no friends and the only other family I have is my younger sister who has no interest in helping me.
I'm not averse to difficult situations in life, but I just feel like this is an impossible situation. There is a train station nearby -- I have frequently started to consider throwing myself under a train to escape this. I just don't see a resolution to this at all. I have told my mum's mental health care worker about what my dad does and she says "your parents have been married for 30 years-- the marriage is based on your mum being a domestic servant We can't get involved in peoples marriages. It's down to cultural differences -- we can't change that overnight".

Perhaps it is down to cultural differences(I'm from a South Asian background) but surely it shouldn't matter if my parents are married or culturally different, something wrong is happening here and that's where the focus should be.
Another thing that makes the situation harder is that my mum won't speak up about this. The care worker has said we can only do something if your mum tells us to. This has been incredibly frustrating for me and is also one of the main reasons why I stopped calling the police when there has been violence -- my mum won't speak up. And my dad puts on a normal front where he pretends to be a 'nice guy' to the police/concerned neighbours -- so it just looks like I'm a liar. I have tried to encourage my mum to tell her care worker about everything that goes on -- her excuses range from defensive 'no, your dad's old, just ignore it' to 'you go live and somewhere else if you want'. I am beginning to resent my mum because she refuses to do anything about it, yet she complains to me about the stress and pressure she is under within the house.
I have had some heated arguments with her because of this.

I really just don't know what to do anymore. I am registered as the homeowner at the flat we live in, but my dad purchased it outright so he has more rights than me. He always uses this to justify his behavior and send us on a guilt trip. He says you're both living rent and mortgage free in my house so put up with it. He also uses that excuse to exempt himself from paying utility bills and service charges on the property. He has no financial liabilities in regards to our home -- I am liable for everything. But since he bought it I can't evict him and consequently I can't leave to apply for social housing because I already have a flat!

I am stuck and that's what upsets me the most -- the fact I can't do a thing to even resolve this situation. I feel mentally and physically drained because this happens everyday. There isn't a day that goes by where it's quiet and calm. I'm a guy but I no longer have the energy to argue or fight anymore. I don't even eat properly because of the stress that this problem is giving me.
That's why I came to this forum in the hope someone would read my story and hopefully give me some direction or even a few helpful hints. I have no one else to turn to.

I would be extremely grateful if anyone could take the time to read my post and offer some useful advice. I really have idea what to do.

Apologies if I have posted in the wrong area.

Welcome to the forum. It's a terrible situation, and there can be no acceptable excuse for dad's behaviour. Wherever you come from, you are living in the UK now. As mum receives DLA she obviously counts as a "vulnerable adult" and therefore you should make a formal complaint of abuse to your local authority Social (Adult) Services. She is being verbally and financially abused - and so are you. As you are a carer, I believe that you are also covered by the Disability Discrimination Act "by association". They should be doing everything possible to help you. This is just my opinion, I'm not a lawyer, but I wonder if you can find someone to support you, a local carers group, disability centre or similar? So much depends on exactly where you live, each area does things slightly differently.
Thank you for the welcome. I was born and have lived here (London) all my life. However my parents were not -- this is why I think my dad feels it's okay to behave in this manner. I will definitely look into Adult social services.

I feel incredibly powerless and alone at the moment. What's frustrates me the most is my dad is getting away with exploiting my mum in such an awful way and I will have to pick up the pieces. I think my mum is relapsing again as she has displayed some very bizarre behavior in the last few days. My dad has no interest in her mental health issues because he knows when something goes wrong, I will be there to fix things.
It all just feels like an endless cycle; he makes her ill, I fix it, he makes her ill....
Ideally, I want to push for my mum to be rehoused as I think this will be better for her in the long run. Although I doubt that will be possible what with the current lack of social housing. I just feel like if she stays here, things will only go around in circles until she dies as my dad has no intention of ever permanently leaving and I can't evict him.

Anyway, I am very grateful for the advice provided. Thank you for taking the time to read my post.
This is a horrible situation to find yourself in. Do you feel your mum has the mental capacity to make decisions regarding living with your dad. If not then you need to speak to her GP. Of course she is deteriorating, your father is diminishing her confidence and self esteem.

If you really want to sort this out you are going to have to be very brave. Do you have a womens refuge or a Domestic Abuse support scheme near you? If so get in touch and ask their advice, failing that contact Womens Aid on 0808 2000 247.

Good luck with this, you are obviously very caring and your mum is lucky to have you looking out for her.
Thanks for the input Kaycee.
I spoke to my mum's care worker today to inform her of the bizarre behavior she has been displaying today. In relation to her mental capacity, the care worker told me that it sounds like my mum is not fully unwell yet but as she is showing signs of heading that way it would be best to just monitor the situation for now. So for now I think she is classed has having mental capacity. Again she reiterated that they can't really do anything unless mum decides to say something about it.

My mum will not speak up about the issues at home. She is incredibly reluctant to speak to an organization. I used to really think it was out of pure fear, however I do not think that is the case anymore. I think a large part of her reluctance is down to her cultural upbringing where family issues are resolved internally without the involvement of 'outsiders'.
Mum never breaks down or cries about the domestic abuse. She simply complies with everything my dad tells her to do and just accepts the verbal/psychological abuse as part. I don't think she even feels like she is a 'victim' of abuse. It's almost as if she is completely indifferent about the whole situation.

When I ask her to speak up about it, she becomes hostile and makes excuses such as 'I have my dignity' and 'your dad is old, leave him alone'. Sometimes it almost feels like she has complicity in prolonging the problem. I must admit that this has caused me to resent her to a degree, because it really seems like she doesn't want to do anything about it purely because she is too proud and values her cultural traditions over the impact it is having on her health and mine. I have said to her please do something about it if not your sake then at least for the sake of my mental health, but she still refuses to do anything.
Hi and welcome to the Forum,

An incredibly difficult situation for you all and very worrying. I would certainly put your concerns in writing to both your GP and your mum's care worker. In my experience they are more likely to take it seriously if you do so.

I have no direct experience of the cultural issues you and your mum face but I do know a little through a neighbour of mine. She found support from the following organisation which specialises in asian abuse and whose workers speak a number of languages. Perhaps they would be able to offer you some advice too:

http://refuge.org.uk/about-us/what-we-d ... -services/

Good luck, Anne
Thanks for the welcome and input Anne.

I will take a look at the link that you have suggested. However as I alluded to earlier (in my previous post), the major obstacle preventing me from doing anything is the fact that it almost feels like my mum intentionally wants to avoid resolving the situation.
As I stated, my mum never breaks down or cries about the situation like a typical victim of such abuse would. She just puts up with everything my dad throws at her and often tells me to 'ignore' it when I try to explain that this situation is seriously affecting her health as well as mine.

As you can imagine this is incredibly frustrating since I know there are solutions to the problem (and my mum is aware of this too) yet she chooses to do nothing about it.
This isn't a case where my mum is absolutely clueless -- she knows that something is wrong here and there is a way to resolve it. This is why I have started to feel like she is intentionally prolonging the problem despite the debilitating effect it is having on her health (and mine). My mental health is deteriorating because my mum's cultural values are more important to her than anything else. I can't help but find her reluctance somewhat selfish.

Anyway, thank you again for the advice and direction. I really appreciate it.
Unfortunately, the way your mum is unwilling to say anything about the abuse and continues with it, is part of the cycle of abuse. You are right when you say that she doesnt see herself as a victim - she doesnt, because she has normalised the abuse and probably thinks that she herself is to blame. This is why you need to contact people as advised above. They will be used to this reaction and will be able to advise you. I think its very important to do so as she is a vulnerable adult. Take a look at this topic too.