We were emotionally abused

I just want to say how moved I was by last week’s letter you published about the women who was ignored and emotionally destroyed by her partner.

I just want to say how moved I was by last week’s letter you published about the women who was ignored and emotionally destroyed by her partner.

It pushed so many of my buttons. The thing is that my dear mum, now passed away, went through almost exactly that, and it brought back memories of 12 years ago.

My mum couldn’t leave her abusive live-in partner because he held the purse-strings and owned the house. I was her eldest, a daughter.

She had her own house which she’d let to family for a silly low rent.

When she got to the point of desperation, and said she had to have the house back, the family turned on her. She never spoke to them again.

Her partner knew that we had nowhere else to live, and that he couldn’t get rid of us, and the emotional abuse he put my mum through at that time, was unforgettable and unforgivable.

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But finally he did something that locked my heart against men for ever.

He came at her, one day in the kitchen, she hit him to stop him hurting her and he pushed her out of the back door, knowing that he’d locked the gate to get out of the back yard.

Then he called the police and reported her for assault. They took her away.

That day, my dad, who’d been out of our lives for years, and had never paid a penny in maintenance, turned up and announced that we were now living with him – me and my kid brother.

Mum wasn’t allowed back into the home she’d lived in for four years, not even to collect her things.

My kid brother and I, I was 15, he was 12, were pushed on to mattresses in my real dad’s house.

He couldn’t care less about us, as ever, and those weeks when we had to live apart from my mum, with the dad who was just out for revenge, while she was living on friends’ sofas, were awful.

Then, mum finally got the house back, and we were reunited, and it was pretty damned special.

I went to Uni, then my kid brother, and mum got work as a seamstress and worked from home.

She was always a very special person, and my role model. She died last year of a stroke.

In all those years, I’ve never been able to trust men. So, here I am, 27, a successful paralegal, and I’m having my first kind of sexual and emotional relationship, for the last 6 weeks, with a man who may be OK.

I don’t know. Men destroyed my lovely mum. I’m crying as I write this. I want to trust this man, but I can’t. Men hurt women. Help!

Barbara says: No they don’t. People hurt people, sometimes, and it’s not gender specific.

You just had a bad ride and a bad experience. Now you’re on a big learning curve to trust.

That’s what bad childhoods give you. You have to rebuild yourself. So, get a counsellor.

Your mum’s experience was extreme, bear that in mind. And also bear in mind that at 27, you need to start putting your demons to bed with a hot water bottle and a cuddly toy.

I don’t want to minimise your grief, but I need you get logical about it. You need to get some useful help.