#23 Blood is thicker than water

This phrase often referred to family relationships and loyalties are the strongest and most important ones.

The Covid pandemic affected everyone globally. A shared traumatic event, which we all experienced differently. It brought families together but also tore them apart.

For those being abused in their homes, it was a pressure cooker of chronic fear & increased risk.

For perpetrators it was a gift.

More control, their target isolated, fearful of the outside world & unable to speak out.

Let’s take a look at Clara and her son Daniel.

During 2020 Clara aged 68, was recovering from breast cancer. Her immunity affected by the daily radiotherapy. Following surgery she felt physically weak, couldn’t lift items or do heavy housework. Her cleaner had to stay at home to homeschool her children, so Clara asked her son to move in with her to help & for company.

Daniel was recently divorced & living alone, so reluctantly agreed.

What Clara didn’t know was he was awaiting trial for offences against his ex wife, his lawyer advised him being a ‘carer’ might help his defense. 

He & Clara hadn’t anticipated how long lockdown would continue for, so he agreed. 

Daniel didn’t enjoy living with his mother, the way she ate, cooked, moved, breathed irritated him. She was obsessed with the daily briefings & wanted to talk constantly about the death count.

In his eyes she was another woman determined to ruin his life. 

For Clara, she felt a sense of chronic fear, the thought of being unwell again & needing to go into hospital raced through her mind every waking minute. She worried about all the ‘what if’s’ needing to talk it through & feel reassured.

Daniel was inpatient & bad tempered. He would speak down to Clara, sigh heavily at every request & generally make her feel like a burden. 

If Clara asked him to do anything around the house he would purposely make it a huge effort & take a long time to complete. 

She sensed he enjoyed stretching out the task as long as possible. His pleasure in her discomfort was telling about the kind of man her beloved son truly was.

Daniel didn’t contribute to the food or household costs, he would do the shopping & Clara knew he was adding his cigarettes, alcohol & lottery scratch cards to the weekly shop which she paid for. There was no option other than to give him her bank card & PIN number. She felt she should be grateful.

She suspected he was withdrawing cash too, but couldn’t be sure. 

She knew many people didn’t have relatives to help them, she didn’t want to waste the time of volunteers & services that were more needed by others. Also, she wouldn’t know what to say. Daniel is her son, she felt ashamed he was so cruel & cold. She often lay in bed at night wondering where she went wrong.

Consider the power imbalance between Clara & Daniel?

How the messaging during that time, directed at older people & people with health conditions, gifted perpetrators the tools to exert power & control?

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