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How to provide escape and assistance for an abused kid from a distance

CambiataCambiata Commander ShepardThe likes of which even GAWD has never seenRegistered User regular
edited January 2 in Help / Advice Forum
This is actually a continuation of a discussion I had in the holiday forum Family thread, and I still feel like I could use some advice despite the very excellent contributions in that thread. I apologize that this will be long.

To recap my situation and add additional context:

I'm estranged from most of my family, not no contact but very little contact with any of them except the sister who lives closest to me, I'll call her Sunshine. However, just before Christmas, a group text was sent to all 12 siblings (or those who have cellphones, anyway) started by another sister, who we'll call MLM, as to what we should do about one of my brothers, Shitlord.

MLM said that there were bad things happening in Shitlord's home and that things were coming to a head and we needed to do something about it. I, perhaps foolishly, choose this opportunity to let the siblings know that Shitlord had long abused me emotionally until I permanently cut him from my life (I've asked questions about how to handle Shitlord in this forum before). I also suggested that if there were any doubts about that abuse, then the siblings should consult Shitlord's adult step son, "Cool", because I was sure he'd have stories to tell. It should be noted that Shitlord currently has a 12 year old son living at home, "Kid." The discussion seemed to be how to help Shitlord - everyone agrees that he's obviously mentally ill and has a drug abuse habit. My brother "Strum" shared recordings of voicemails from Shitlord where he he's obviously having some paranoid delusions (worries that the grocery store clerk poisoned his cigarettes, seeing the blood of an animal somewhere and saying "someone is trying to set me up, aren't they?", are two examples). Check him into a drug program, try to get him to voluntarily check into a mental facility, that sort of thing.

I was not super into the "Poor Shitlord" narrative, especially since I was sure Shitlord would be abusing Kid, knowing his history with me and a small part of his history with Cool. But everyone was all "let's wait for the holidays to be over, what's the rush?" and "Mom wants us to wait, Cool wants us to wait." Strum said he would have a talk with Cool so he could get more perspective. I trusted Strum as one of the few adults in the family, although I don't speak with him regularly. What I really wanted was counseling for Kid and for Shitlord's wife, "Music." And for Kid to be taken out of that house. The day before Christmas we learned that my parents had gone to see Shitlord, there had been a confrontation, Shitlord had gotten physical with my dad (who is elderly and pretty frail at this point) and my dad being pushed into a corner had pulled a gun on Shitlord. Shitlord called several relatives with this story. Sunshine, bless her, told him to call the police if he felt his safety threatened, but Shitlord did not. I called my mom immediately upon hearing this alarming story and asked if it were true. She and my father seemed in good spirits and she said no such thing happened. I shared what my mom told me and I was sure this was one of Shitlord's lies to make him look like the victim at all times. After mulling it over for a couple of days I called my mom again to warn her to be careful what she says and does in front of Shitlord (and maybe to record it), and during that conversation I found out that in fact my dad HAD pulled a gun on Shitlord after being physically threatened. Which, yeah, really good way to deal with this situation. The brother who lives with my parents, Musclehead, wanted to have a fight with Shitlord as if that would fix literally anything. As you can see my family is not great at being functional in any sense. To be clear though, my mom hadn't lied about the gun, she apparently hadn't seen that part of the confrontation, she had been in Shitlord's house at the time and the gun came out outside.

Anyway, all that was bad enough, but I was devastated yesterday when Strum - again the one I thought was a normal adult, as well as being kind and thoughtful - said he had "heard no evidence of abuse." It felt like a slap in the face. That's when I found out that several family members believed that when I said "abuse" what I meant was "he called me mean names sometimes." I gave them a direct example (the times when we were both living at home when Shitlord would decide he had to have a discussion with me and would following me all over the house insisting we have a discussion whether I wanted it or not, for literally hours if there were no adults around), but I don't think it worked because I don't think they know what abuse looks like. I asked Strum if he also told Cool that he didn't believe his narrative of abuse, and I found that STRUM HADN'T EVEN ASKED COOL IF HE HAD BEEN ABUSED OR HOW. Then and only then did MLM give us the messages she had gotten from Music and the reason she had reached out in the first place - Shitlord apparently had also been guilty of physical abuse when Cool and when Kid were too young to fight back (around age 10 for Cool, "when he was a baby" for Kid). Kid had told his mom "I don't want to be part of this family anymore."

So now we come to today. Strum has said that he doesn't thing CPS is a good idea because they might not even do anything, and if they do do something they might take Kid away from Shitlord and "nobody wants that." After reading that both kids were put in the ER by Shitlord he still thinks no one wants Kid taken to a new home. I should also add that another sister, Pillar, offered to take Kid in, even before we knew about the physical abuse.

I don't live in the same town as Kid. The people who live in the same town as Kid are a bunch of people who don't understand what abuse looks like and are most likely part of the "Poor Shitlord" train who think that Kid shouldn't get moved to a better home. What I want to do is communicate to Kid that he has family who can take him in should he wish to leave, that he isn't trapped there. I worry that if he doesn't have an out he may commit suicide, though nothing on that has been communicated. What we know of how Shitlord treats Kid is that he constantly tells Kid that he's stupid, an idiot, a jerk, that he laughs at Kid in front of the parents of Music's clients, that Kid is in pain with the way Shitlord treats him. We also have been told that Kid loves Shitlord and doesn't want to be taken away, which may be true. We know that Shitlord has put Kid in the ER when Kid was a baby. Knowing that I can only go through third parties, what can I do? I'm already planning on calling my mom and asking her to get a disposable phone for Kid and that I'll gladly pay for that. I'm going to ask her to make sure Kid knows that he can stay at her house for any reason and doesn't have to explain (this one might be a hard sell). Kid is about to be a teenager, I can only see this situation getting worse. Any other ideas for what I can do to help him from afar?

Cambiata on
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  • bsjezzbsjezz Registered User regular
    i think you either need to contact Kid's school, or get the message to him that he should be talking with welfare officers, counsellors or trusted teachers at his school to get the truth of his home life on record and monitored. almost nobody is closer to adolescent children than their schoolteachers; they see the red flags sooner than anyone. what you can provide is early warning and corroboration. you don't need to share your own story or feel the need to validate your argument. you just need to convey that you're a relative with big concerns about Kid's safety at home.

    schools are mandatory reporters. if they see something that looks like abuse, they must notify child protection authorities, without bias or concern for family politics. that's as it should be. but they don't always have the contextual information to make such judgement calls. kids are, behaviourally, complex beasts... but abuse is abuse

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  • CambiataCambiata Commander Shepard The likes of which even GAWD has never seenRegistered User regular
    bsjezz wrote: »
    i think you either need to contact Kid's school, or get the message to him that he should be talking with welfare officers, counsellors or trusted teachers at his school to get the truth of his home life on record and monitored. almost nobody is closer to adolescent children than their schoolteachers; they see the red flags sooner than anyone. what you can provide is early warning and corroboration. you don't need to share your own story or feel the need to validate your argument. you just need to convey that you're a relative with big concerns about Kid's safety at home.

    schools are mandatory reporters. if they see something that looks like abuse, they must notify child protection authorities, without bias or concern for family politics. that's as it should be. but they don't always have the contextual information to make such judgement calls. kids are, behaviourally, complex beasts... but abuse is abuse

    This is an excellent idea, thank you! Unfortunately in some of my research it has become clear that CPS unfortunately may not be able to do much on account of emotional abuse being a much harder sell than physical abuse, not just in my family but in the court system and the broader world. Still, his teachers and counselors being aware can only be helpful.

    bsjezzJanson
  • CambiataCambiata Commander Shepard The likes of which even GAWD has never seenRegistered User regular
    As an added bonus on that idea, I promised my mom I wouldn't call CPS yet. I didn't promise her I wouldn't call the school!

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  • Fuzzy Cumulonimbus CloudFuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud Nurse, Veteran, Army Mom, Ficus, Space Dad, Survivor Contestant God Bless This Mess Registered User regular
    edited January 2
    .

    Fuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud on
  • CambiataCambiata Commander Shepard The likes of which even GAWD has never seenRegistered User regular
    edited January 2
    One part I forgot to add to the story is that Shitlord is the primary care giver, he has no job and has never held any job for long. So Kid's exposure to him is unending except when he's at school. I didn't know if this might change the advice given or not, but there you go.

    Also that Strum and other family members are still working on getting Shitlord checked into a facility and going with a plan for that (while still making no provisions for Kid directly, because my family sucks). I have no problem with them trying, I just don't think anything they say will convince him and as far as I know there's no way to force him unless he becomes self-harming or harming others in a way that gets police involved.

    Cambiata on
  • EnigmedicEnigmedic Registered User regular
    One of the misconceptions is that cps just takes kids away to random foster homes never to be seen again. There are loads of federal laws where they have to search for kinship/family placement and it sounds like there are already people willing to do that. Second, just because it is emotional abuse doesnt mean it isnt domestic violence. Third, cps is usually under the department of children and family or human services, depending on what your state calls it. So they are able to offer counseling or referrals to mental health/drug treatment facilities. Just call cps and let them help help. It is literally their job to investigate these kinds of situations and offer the services appropriate to the circumstances.

    Source: i am cps.

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  • CambiataCambiata Commander Shepard The likes of which even GAWD has never seenRegistered User regular
    edited January 2
    Actually my greatest fear in having CPS investigate is that they will NOT seek to have Kid removed from the home. I already knew that my family's nonsense fears that Kid would be placed with strangers are unfounded. But for them to investigate and then not find sufficient evidence to take any action... in the short term Kid's life will become so much more miserable. Because Shitlord is going to seek someone to blame for the "Injustice" of being investigated, and his wife and child are the only targets in his power.

    That said, I probably still am going to call them after the month is over. I was just hoping to get some sort of support structure and out for Kid before then.

    Cambiata on
  • Drake ChambersDrake Chambers Lay out my formal shorts. Registered User regular
    Cambiata wrote: »
    Actually my greatest fear in having CPS investigate is that they will NOT seek to have Kid removed from the home. I already knew that my family's nonsense fears that Kid would be placed with strangers are unfounded. But for them to investigate and then not find sufficient evidence to take any action... in the short term Kid's life will become so much more miserable. Because Shitlord is going to seek someone to blame for the "Injustice" of being investigated, and his wife and child are the only targets in his power.

    That said, I probably still am going to call them after the month is over. I was just hoping to get some sort of support structure and out for Kid before then.

    I know it's not what you want to hear but, for the sake of your expectations, do not expect Kid to be removed from the home. I'm sure there's some variance based on state laws but I've personally seen many situations where most reasonable people would think to themselves "My god, these people should not have children! Someone should do something!" and that's just not the way it usually works. The few times I've seen CPS leave with children have been times that the parents leave in handcuffs.

    As Enigmedic said, there are many other ways in which CPS may be able to help. Do reach out to them.

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    Cambiata
  • EnigmedicEnigmedic Registered User regular
    Im not sure about other states, but in mine, 90% of cases are solved without taking children into custody. Often there just needs to be some kind of counseling or mental health/substance abuse treatment. Most states just dont have the funding to have a bajillion kids in custody so they do everything they can to fix the root of the problem. The biggest hurdle to that is often families lying to cps because they think someone will end up in jail or the kids will be taken from the family. Then down the road shit REALLY hits the fan, someone gets hurt, and suddenly everyone is changing their story. Ive been at this for 6 months and have seen this play out multiple times already. People who have been doing it longer get back to the office knowing everyone they just talked to was lying to them, just bitch about it to everyone else, and another investigation gets started 2 months later for the same thing.

    Please just get some help involved. Tell your family to just tell their story how they see it. Dont embellish, lie, or downplay things. That just drags everything out and no one gets the correct kind of help they need.

    From your last post it sounds like a domestic violence sort of thing because power is always what that revolves around. You might look into some of your local domestic violence services and see what help you can get for them.

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  • CambiataCambiata Commander Shepard The likes of which even GAWD has never seenRegistered User regular
    edited January 3
    I just called my mom to talk to her about getting Kid means of escape from his dad. Found out that physical abuse is still an issue, just recently Shitlord grabbed Kid by the neck because "he wouldn't do his homework."

    As for telling my family what to say to CPS, there's no way it's possible for me to get anything through to them. When I call CPS, it's going to be without their knowledge. I even sent a text to Music today just to try to gauge Kid's mental health, and the first thing she told me was that Shitlord doesn't abuse drugs and doesn't abuse his son. I've been in Shitlord's presence, I've seen his affect - as far as I can tell he's high 24/7. It's impossible not to notice it. (I didn't argue since I knew Shitlord would read her messages, I just said, "oh, I know that" and continued with my inquiry towards Kid's mental health and hoped to put Music on guard for self-harm). So Music is already primed to lie to CPS, and no amount of me saying, "just tell them the truth, they won't take your kid away" is going to help. MLM is likely to speak the truth, as is Sunshine. The rest, who knows.

    Cambiata on
  • EnigmedicEnigmedic Registered User regular
    Depending on the state they could get the court to order a drug test and failing to do so prompts an automatic positive in some cases. You can usually tell when people are high or lying, because they say the stupidest shit, like “there must have been meth in the soda i got from the gas station”. I wouldnt worry too much about some people being defensive or lying. People lie all the time. Just make sure you put down some contact info during your report for people who arent delusional as well.

    Also, you didnt really describe choking(technically strangling) but just said grabbed him by the neck. But depending how he did it, it could be strangulation and ina separate event could be strangulation if he has a reflex to go for the neck. And strangulation is the number one lethality indicator in a domestic violence situation.

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  • CambiataCambiata Commander Shepard The likes of which even GAWD has never seenRegistered User regular
    Enigmedic wrote: »
    Depending on the state they could get the court to order a drug test and failing to do so prompts an automatic positive in some cases. You can usually tell when people are high or lying, because they say the stupidest shit, like “there must have been meth in the soda i got from the gas station”. I wouldnt worry too much about some people being defensive or lying. People lie all the time. Just make sure you put down some contact info during your report for people who arent delusional as well.

    Also, you didnt really describe choking(technically strangling) but just said grabbed him by the neck. But depending how he did it, it could be strangulation and ina separate event could be strangulation if he has a reflex to go for the neck. And strangulation is the number one lethality indicator in a domestic violence situation.

    I wrote it down as choking first because that's how Kid initially reported it, but when being questioned by my mom it turned out he was grabbed by the back of the neck. Unfortunately, Shitlord gaslights frequently so I have no way of knowing if it was a real choking episode or if it was just the back of the neck. Inappropriate either way, but I can see Shitlord trying to soften the instance by "changing" it to back of the neck and Kid going along thinking that no one will believe him over his father.

    dispatch.o
  • dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    edited January 3
    CPS does a wellness check and interviews people in the home.
    What would they find?

    As you noted putting your hand on the back of a kids neck isn't even necessarily abuse. Poor parenting? Probably. There are lots of things SL can do and probably does do that won't leave actionable evidence, and he probably knows it.

    It's a good idea to find out what you or your parents can do within the scope of the law that would see action taken. It's important you protect yourself and your mom. CPS or an abuse hotline would be the most able to tell you, depending on the state this is all happening in their recommendation could change.

    I've known plenty of people with shitty abusive parents who weren't legally doing anything wrong enough for CPS intervention. Making sure Kid has resources and family he can talk to will be more valuable than a visit from a social worker in my opinion. Getting him to talk to an educator or school administrator would probably be very effective but extraordinarily disruptive as they have a legal obligation to report abuse and shit will escalate very quickly, and he'll need somewhere to stay.

    dispatch.o on
  • mtsmts Registered User regular
    honestly even if CPS doesn't remove him from the house, it starts a documentation paper trail. yea, unless it is an overt abuse (likely physical) they won't remove on a single visit, but it puts it on their radar should things get worse.

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  • GnizmoGnizmo Registered User regular
    Cambiata wrote: »
    Actually my greatest fear in having CPS investigate is that they will NOT seek to have Kid removed from the home. I already knew that my family's nonsense fears that Kid would be placed with strangers are unfounded. But for them to investigate and then not find sufficient evidence to take any action... in the short term Kid's life will become so much more miserable. Because Shitlord is going to seek someone to blame for the "Injustice" of being investigated, and his wife and child are the only targets in his power.

    That said, I probably still am going to call them after the month is over. I was just hoping to get some sort of support structure and out for Kid before then.

    It sounds like a legitimate fear as well. I don't know that anyone can offer you clear guidance on this one. It is essentially a domestic violence situation where half-measures can just cause escalation. There should be safety plans and monitors set in place in order to help monitor the situation. It certainly sounds like there are people who are in theory willing to keep a healthy eye, but it also sounds as if your family would buy whatever load of horse shit Shitlord fed them.

    If I am remembering right from the holiday thread you were quoting your family saying something that set off my spidey sense which is a good sign for this overall. Certain phrases just make the hair stand up on the back of your head when investigating. They bruise easily is my favorite go to example of ways to be ruled out of potentially keeping a kid safe. It was something of a similar vein in downplaying it which won't hurt. I say this to say that a lot of your family would probably be ruled out early unless the mother's side of the family is worse.

    I do have a question about the mother in all of this. Where is her head with all of this? Your best move might be working with her to grab the kid and run. Obviously you want to be delicate about the approach, and working with her wherever she is at. If she is looking for a way out you have a decent path forward. I dunno what kind of experience you have working with victims of domestic violence, but given your family history gonna assume at least a little. If I am wrong I can try and help if that is a valid path.

  • CambiataCambiata Commander Shepard The likes of which even GAWD has never seenRegistered User regular
    edited January 4
    Gnizmo wrote: »
    Cambiata wrote: »
    Actually my greatest fear in having CPS investigate is that they will NOT seek to have Kid removed from the home. I already knew that my family's nonsense fears that Kid would be placed with strangers are unfounded. But for them to investigate and then not find sufficient evidence to take any action... in the short term Kid's life will become so much more miserable. Because Shitlord is going to seek someone to blame for the "Injustice" of being investigated, and his wife and child are the only targets in his power.

    That said, I probably still am going to call them after the month is over. I was just hoping to get some sort of support structure and out for Kid before then.

    It sounds like a legitimate fear as well. I don't know that anyone can offer you clear guidance on this one. It is essentially a domestic violence situation where half-measures can just cause escalation. There should be safety plans and monitors set in place in order to help monitor the situation. It certainly sounds like there are people who are in theory willing to keep a healthy eye, but it also sounds as if your family would buy whatever load of horse shit Shitlord fed them.

    If I am remembering right from the holiday thread you were quoting your family saying something that set off my spidey sense which is a good sign for this overall. Certain phrases just make the hair stand up on the back of your head when investigating. They bruise easily is my favorite go to example of ways to be ruled out of potentially keeping a kid safe. It was something of a similar vein in downplaying it which won't hurt. I say this to say that a lot of your family would probably be ruled out early unless the mother's side of the family is worse.

    I do have a question about the mother in all of this. Where is her head with all of this? Your best move might be working with her to grab the kid and run. Obviously you want to be delicate about the approach, and working with her wherever she is at. If she is looking for a way out you have a decent path forward. I dunno what kind of experience you have working with victims of domestic violence, but given your family history gonna assume at least a little. If I am wrong I can try and help if that is a valid path.

    So, about the mom. She's an immigrant to this country and not a native English speaker. Also I've been told by Sunshine that Music's father is, "another Shitlord." Music makes all the money, but she doesn't have a high opinion of herself. She's told their son that if he doesn't talk back then his father won't say mean things to him anymore (even though she knows this isn't true, though talking back to him obviously escalates his meanness). There has been a point in their marriage when she said she wanted to divorce him, his response was to tell her that he'd take everything she has if she tries. Currently she says she doesn't want to divorce him. Her older son believes she is not fit to be a single mother, though I don't know how much of that is her own low self-esteem and bad self-talk that she has just communicated to him and he is repeating. Though he was her child as a single mother to age 10 at least before she married Shitlord, so he may be speaking from a more direct experience in how she handled that (but today there are family members to help out and watch her son as needed, that she didn't have back then. Also Kid is 12, not 6). When he put her baby in the ER, the doctor asked who had done it and she refused to give Shitlord's name. I have sympathy for her as someone who is subject to Shitlord's abuse, but I don't have a lot of faith in her as someone who will protect her son from Shitlord.

    Also yes, my family makes denial statements that horrify me. The latest one from Strum, from a couple of days ago, was to say that there was no rush, because the abuse has been going on for 12 years, what's a few more months? Again this is from a person I used to consider completely normal, so I found that pretty shocking (though I've stopped replying to their group thread or caring overmuch what they plan). I don't know why he's so certain that he can force Shitlord into therapy or anything else. Most of my family apparently do not understand Shitlord at all.

    Regarding buying Shitlord's lies, when I spoke to my mom yesterday it seemed pretty clear that she understood that 90% of the things out of Shitlord's mouth are lies, but perhaps because she's an ultra-conservative Fox viewer she has a hard time really "believing" that abuse is abuse. Like she keeps making excuses for him. One good thing though is that she told me she's considering therapy herself which I was like, YES! Do that! That's an excellent thing to do! She's affected by Shitlord too, even if it was not the the same extent as myself or his wife and son. I hope she follows through.

    I should add this RE: Shitlord's wife. As stated in a previous post I did have a text conversation with Music to try to instill in her a watchfulness on her son's health. That conversation ultimately lasted longer than I thought it would. Shitlord, obviously, read it because Shitlord gonna Shitlord. But I was careful in my phrasing so that nothing would be any sort of criticism of Shitlord, last thing I want to do is shut down the communication completely. Due to that conversation I was able to get some information about how Kid is doing in school and other things - for example I had heard vaguely that he's diagnosed as autistic and so he has multiple specialty teachers for speech, reading, etc. Shitlord entered the conversation to ask "what is this about" and if I was asking about Kid because "he won't do his science fair project.", but I made it clear I was just checking after my nephew because kids that age can become depressed, especially if they're already being bullied (Music said he has been bullied at school) and that's an especial concern because middle school starts for him in August and you know how rough middle school can be. Shitlord dropped out as soon as it was clear I wasn't there to talk about him. Music then apologized that Shitlord had gotten her phone, and I told her she had no need to apologize and that I hadn't written anything that Shitlord wasn't allowed to see.

    I also learned from that conversation that when my mom and Music had spoken to Kid about whether he's being abused or not, they started with "are you being abused?" which was a no, and they also asked, "do you want your father to go to jail?" which was also a no. When I spoke to my mom that day, I told her that those are not helpful questions. I said that 'do you want your father to go to jail' even sounds like a threat, as if you're saying to the Kid that he better not accuse his father of anything or he'll go to jail? Yeah my family is not very good at this sort of thing, but I do appreciate that my mom is trying.

    Cambiata on
  • GnizmoGnizmo Registered User regular
    Cambiata wrote: »
    Gnizmo wrote: »
    Cambiata wrote: »
    Actually my greatest fear in having CPS investigate is that they will NOT seek to have Kid removed from the home. I already knew that my family's nonsense fears that Kid would be placed with strangers are unfounded. But for them to investigate and then not find sufficient evidence to take any action... in the short term Kid's life will become so much more miserable. Because Shitlord is going to seek someone to blame for the "Injustice" of being investigated, and his wife and child are the only targets in his power.

    That said, I probably still am going to call them after the month is over. I was just hoping to get some sort of support structure and out for Kid before then.

    It sounds like a legitimate fear as well. I don't know that anyone can offer you clear guidance on this one. It is essentially a domestic violence situation where half-measures can just cause escalation. There should be safety plans and monitors set in place in order to help monitor the situation. It certainly sounds like there are people who are in theory willing to keep a healthy eye, but it also sounds as if your family would buy whatever load of horse shit Shitlord fed them.

    If I am remembering right from the holiday thread you were quoting your family saying something that set off my spidey sense which is a good sign for this overall. Certain phrases just make the hair stand up on the back of your head when investigating. They bruise easily is my favorite go to example of ways to be ruled out of potentially keeping a kid safe. It was something of a similar vein in downplaying it which won't hurt. I say this to say that a lot of your family would probably be ruled out early unless the mother's side of the family is worse.

    I do have a question about the mother in all of this. Where is her head with all of this? Your best move might be working with her to grab the kid and run. Obviously you want to be delicate about the approach, and working with her wherever she is at. If she is looking for a way out you have a decent path forward. I dunno what kind of experience you have working with victims of domestic violence, but given your family history gonna assume at least a little. If I am wrong I can try and help if that is a valid path.

    So, about the mom. She's an immigrant to this country and not a native English speaker. Also I've been told by Sunshine that Music's father is, "another Shitlord." Music makes all the money, but she doesn't have a high opinion of herself. She's told their son that if he doesn't talk back then his father won't say mean things to him anymore (even though she knows this isn't true, though talking back to him obviously escalates his meanness). There has been a point in their marriage when she said she wanted to divorce him, his response was to tell her that he'd take everything she has if she tries. Currently she says she doesn't want to divorce him. Her older son believes she is not fit to be a single mother, though I don't know how much of that is her own low self-esteem and bad self-talk that she has just communicated to him and he is repeating. Though he was her child as a single mother to age 10 at least before she married Shitlord, so he may be speaking from a more direct experience in how she handled that (but today there are family members to help out and watch her son as needed, that she didn't have back then. Also Kid is 12, not 6). When he put her baby in the ER, the doctor asked who had done it and she refused to give Shitlord's name. I have sympathy for her as someone who is subject to Shitlord's abuse, but I don't have a lot of faith in her as someone who will protect her son from Shitlord.

    Hum. So this is all fairly expected unfortunately. Victims tend to do this exact behavior pattern for complex reasons. The short version of this is don't write her off for not being able to stand-up, but also don't expect her to be useful currently. If you can keep being a resource for her all the better. Until she is ready to start making some changes there is zero chance she will come through in a big way unfortunately. It makes everything a lot more difficult. I do have a lot of questions about why the ER doctors haven't reported the family already though.

    Cambiatadispatch.oSo It GoesNightslyrKristmas Kthulhu
  • dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    Every year we are required to do training on reporting abuse.

    The big example given every year is multiple bruise patterns in different stages of healing.

    The ER thing is kinda puzzling.

  • CambiataCambiata Commander Shepard The likes of which even GAWD has never seenRegistered User regular
    edited January 4
    To be fair, I am only getting second and third-hand reports, and the language barrier with Music means sometimes the things she is reporting are not 100% clear. There are also parts of Shitlord's history that I am not privy to, and that my mother will not discuss with me. For example, I pointed out that maybe Shitlord is not quite as insane as everyone seems to believe, because up until now he's been able to stay completely out of the criminal justice system, so he knows how to follow rules, he just doesn't follow any rules he doesn't absolutely have to. That's when I was told that in fact Shitlord had spent some time in jail (a few days), but my mother refused to tell me for what. I suspect it was drug related. I know he didn't not spend any time in jail during the time I lived in the same town as he and my mother that I moved away from about 10 years ago.

    Cambiata on
  • mtsmts Registered User regular
    It is going to be hard to call them out on stuff. there is a psychology term that is completely escaping me at the moment, but basically if you call someone out on something/fact check it just causes them to dig deeper into their belief/falsehood rather than flip opinions.

    That is probably what is going on.

    camo_sig.png
  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    Instead of challenging the poor kid with heavy stuff like "Do you want to see your father in jail?" would it be good to offer the boy a "break" living at his aunt's for a month or so while his parents deal with their issues? If it works out well it could be extended. And even if he goes back he knows he has somewhere to go if he needs to.

    Poor boy, abused at home, bullied at school. No-where to go.

    NightDragondispatch.oShadowfireOrcaCalicaKristmas Kthulhu
  • RiboflavinRiboflavin Registered User regular
    This is an opinion, I am no expert.

    The escalating violence is not good. Father/Shitlord. I say this because it looks like family intervention could promote violence.
    I would suggest as some other have CPS not just for "Emotional Abuse" but because he has a drug problem with some disconnection from reality and a history of violence or threats of violence. Situations like this do not tend to resolve themselves but do tend to get worse. So given the options I say go with CPS. Giving the kid an option to live with a relative may be a good option after contacting CPS but my fear is shitlord shows up high and violent demanding his kid back. Get the state involved.

  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    Your mom going to therapy is an absolute good. Having an abusive kid is terrible on just so many levels. So that's awesome but it's not an immediate solution. It is cool that she wants to help and her heart is in the right place, but if she's genuine about it maybe you can point her to some resources on how to handle this kind of situation; it sounds like she's a lot closer to the situation (on the GPS) than you are, and a quick run-down of some things she should know might be helpful for her... and everyone else that comes through in her wake.

    I can't imagine what Music is going through. She needs as much help as anyone in this situation, and if she comes from a similar household it's going to be even harder. I hope she has papers because if she doesn't that could add a whole other dimension of hurt, because he could quite literally take everything from her in that case.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
    dispatch.oCambiataGnizmoNightslyrBrody
  • dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    Hadn't even considered how warped "normal" can be to someone if they've dealt with 3 generations of dysfunctional family. Learning about healthy relationships and how to expect and express respect almost certainly requires a professional.

    It sounds like incrementally some of the family is trying. Which should be a little positive. People who suffer abuse can feel like they're committing a betrayal when they seek help. It's going to be hard.

    Have you called any hotlines or resources local to the family to see what's available?

  • CambiataCambiata Commander Shepard The likes of which even GAWD has never seenRegistered User regular
    edited January 5
    Instead of challenging the poor kid with heavy stuff like "Do you want to see your father in jail?" would it be good to offer the boy a "break" living at his aunt's for a month or so while his parents deal with their issues? If it works out well it could be extended. And even if he goes back he knows he has somewhere to go if he needs to.

    Poor boy, abused at home, bullied at school. No-where to go.

    I asked my mom if she ever had Kid over just to give him a vacation from Shitlord. She says she has, but he doesn't seem to enjoy himself and is happy to leave when his mom picks him up. I figure it's because Grandma's house is not filled with particularly fun things for a kid that age. Computers there are not suitable for gaming and they don't have any consoles. My mom confirmmed my suspicion by pointing out that the one time he was interested in something there, it was an old-timey accordion camera (a gadget he hadn't seen before). I thought then that I might buy him a Kano computer kit to build himself, but I can't send that to his home because his father will surely steal it. But I can't say for sure that Grandma and Grandpa's is the place to send it either, because they have lots of other grandchildren so it wouldn't just be his. I also thought maybe building a gaming computer for my parents house, preloaded with some steam games, but that would have to include the buying of a monitor which would make it pricier than I could afford.

    The aunt who has offered to take Kid in does not live near him, unfortunately, and has said that if she were to foster him she'd move him to where she lives after the school year was up. An imperfect solution, but all of them are.

    I also sent my mom the book Why Does He Do That by Lundy Bancroft to help answer her question "what is abuse?" I asked her to read it, but on some level I fear she'll ignore it as "liberal propaganda", or just not read it at all.

    Regarding Music's citizenship, I believe my parents laid out all the money necessary for her papers once they were married, so that should be taken care of.

    Added bonus to the difficulties involved in communicating why abuse is bad to my mom: her father was an alcoholic. My father/her husband definitely has abusive tendencies. If/when she reads Why Does He Do That she is guaranteed to see descriptions of her husband there. When I encouraged her when she told her about seeking therapy, I deliberately did not mention my dad as part of the reason because I knew that if I did nothing else I said could be trusted. Sunshine is the black sheep of the family precisely because she told my mom to stand up to my dad 40 years ago. She did, it made thier marriage significantly better, but they have never forgiven her.

    Cambiata on
  • GnizmoGnizmo Registered User regular
    Cambiata wrote: »
    Instead of challenging the poor kid with heavy stuff like "Do you want to see your father in jail?" would it be good to offer the boy a "break" living at his aunt's for a month or so while his parents deal with their issues? If it works out well it could be extended. And even if he goes back he knows he has somewhere to go if he needs to.

    Poor boy, abused at home, bullied at school. No-where to go.

    I asked my mom if she ever had Kid over just to give him a vacation from Shitlord. She says she has, but he doesn't seem to enjoy himself and is happy to leave when his mom picks him up. I figure it's because Grandma's house is not filled with particularly fun things for a kid that age. Computers there are not suitable for gaming and they don't have any consoles. My mom confirmmed my suspicion by pointing out that the one time he was interested in something there, it was an old-timey accordion camera (a gadget he hadn't seen before). I thought then that I might buy him a Kano computer kit to build himself, but I can't send that to his home because his father will surely steal it. But I can't say for sure that Grandma and Grandpa's is the place to send it either, because they have lots of other grandchildren so it wouldn't just be his. I also thought maybe building a gaming computer for my parents house, preloaded with some steam games, but that would have to include the buying of a monitor which would make it pricier than I could afford.

    So it makes sense that he would want to go back home to what is familiar. The worst part of CPS work is knowing you might be responsible for the worst day of a kids life. You take away their entire world. A shitty, horrible world, but one they know how to navigate. Kids prefer predictability to safety. It really sucks, but that is a barrier I think you should know about in all of this as well. Kid will push back at first because he is terrified at what is happening even if 10 years down the line he will see it as the best thing to ever happen to him.

    This is not to say he isn't bored at your mother's house for all the reasons you have listed. This is just why, despite what we all think makes sense, he is happy to go home.

    NightDragonSiskaElvenshaeDisruptedCapitalistdispatch.oCambiataNightslyr
  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    edited January 6
    Cambiata wrote: »
    Regarding Music's citizenship, I believe my parents laid out all the money necessary for her papers once they were married, so that should be taken care of.

    ...

    Without further information to the contrary I'm just going to go ahead and assume that your brother stole that money and spent it and she still doesn't have documentation.

    ceres on
    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
  • CambiataCambiata Commander Shepard The likes of which even GAWD has never seenRegistered User regular
    edited January 6
    ceres wrote: »
    Cambiata wrote: »
    Regarding Music's citizenship, I believe my parents laid out all the money necessary for her papers once they were married, so that should be taken care of.

    ...

    Without further information to the contrary I'm just going to go ahead and assume that your brother stole that money and spent it and she still doesn't have documentation.

    No no, it wasn't like they gave money to the family, they knew better than that at least. My parents, for both Music and another of my immigrant SILs, bankrolled a lawyer and went to hearings and did all the legwork necessary to get the citizenship. They knew Shitlord wasn't either willing or capable.

    My parents' hard work on behalf of two immigrants and the difficulties they had with our nation's immigrant system is one reason it continues to baffle me that they're in favor of things like the wall. There's no dissonance like cognitive dissonance, I guess.

    Cambiata on
  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    Cambiata wrote: »
    ceres wrote: »
    Cambiata wrote: »
    Regarding Music's citizenship, I believe my parents laid out all the money necessary for her papers once they were married, so that should be taken care of.

    ...

    Without further information to the contrary I'm just going to go ahead and assume that your brother stole that money and spent it and she still doesn't have documentation.

    No no, it wasn't like they gave money to the family, they knew better than that at least. My parents, for both Music and another of my immigrant SILs, bankrolled a lawyer and went to hearings and did all the legwork necessary to get the citizenship. They knew Shitlord wasn't either willing or capable.

    My parents' hard work on behalf of two immigrants and the difficulties they had with our nation's immigrant system is one reason it continues to baffle me that they're in favor of things like the wall. There's no dissonance like cognitive dissonance, I guess.

    Thank goodness for that.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
    CambiataElvenshaeDisruptedCapitalistCalicaMichaelLCBrody
  • CambiataCambiata Commander Shepard The likes of which even GAWD has never seenRegistered User regular
    edited January 18
    So, I haven't called any authorities on my brother yet, not even the school (I know, this sucks. I suck. I still will call CPS as soon as January is over though).

    Here's something I'm wondering: Is it worthwhile to "out" my brother on facebook as an abusive person? Several of my facebook friends went to school with him. And of course, most of my siblings as well as neices and nephews have me friended. I feel like it could be of benefit (especially to younger family members who may not know to steer clear of him), I also feel like it could permanently end my relationship with some family members - what little relationship exists. There's also something of a stigma to outing your dirty laundry on social media; I may just look like a drama queen. Thoughts?

    To be clear, my purposes in doing so would largely be: 1) warn nieces and nephews never to leave their kids alone with him and 2) give high school friends who may have been his victims some catharsis as well as 3) get some catharsis for myself.

    Cambiata on
  • ElvenshaeElvenshae Registered User regular
    No, Facebook is the worst possible media in which to do that.

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    Steam: Elvenshae // PSN: Elvenshae // WotC: Elvenshae
    The Disappearance of Inigo Sharpe: Tomas à Dunsanin
    knitdanGnizmoNobodyJaysonFourdispatch.oCelestialBadgerDaenrisPeenNightDragontynicSkeithschussbsjezzCommander ZoomDisruptedCapitalistStabbity StyleGonmunNightslyrBrody
  • GnizmoGnizmo Registered User regular
    Cambiata wrote: »
    So, I haven't called any authorities on my brother yet, not even the school (I know, this sucks. I suck. I still will call CPS as soon as January is over though).

    Here's something I'm wondering: Is it worthwhile to "out" my brother on facebook as an abusive person? Several of my facebook friends went to school with him. And of course, most of my siblings as well as neices and nephews have me friended. I feel like it could be of benefit (especially to younger family members who may not know to steer clear of him), I also feel like it could permanently end my relationship with some family members - what little relationship exists. There's also something of a stigma to outing your dirty laundry on social media; I may just look like a drama queen. Thoughts?

    To be clear, my purposes in doing so would largely be: 1) warn nieces and nephews never to leave their kids alone with him and 2) give high school friends who may have been his victims some catharsis as well as 3) get some catharsis for myself.

    How you handle your personal life is your deal in the end. Putting everything out on social media has some fairly obvious ups and downs that you seem to be giving their appropriate weight. My only concern is that it could easily lead to your brother feeling like he is losing control of the situation which would not translate into a good time for those close to him. Reaching out privately might be a better course just so it doesn't create some unintended consequences.

    CambiataNightDragon
  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    Generally so is any public social media whatsoever. Before you so much as weigh the pros and cons of making that post, you should be calling the appropriate authorities. Making a post like that before seeing through a real action on this opens up a can of worms you can't close from people who would rather cheer on your brother than listen to what you have to say, and it alerts your brother to your thinking. Like you know what else warns family not to leave kids alone with him? A visit to him from CPS. What you are talking about doing right now is a really efficient way to get you cut off from this kid and anything to do with him for as long as your brother or anyone loyal to him has anything to say about it.

    As with so many things, public catharsis is almost certainly not worth it.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
    CambiataCelestialBadgerElvenshaePeenNightDragontynicNightslyr
  • CambiataCambiata Commander Shepard The likes of which even GAWD has never seenRegistered User regular
    edited January 18
    Gnizmo wrote: »
    Cambiata wrote: »
    So, I haven't called any authorities on my brother yet, not even the school (I know, this sucks. I suck. I still will call CPS as soon as January is over though).

    Here's something I'm wondering: Is it worthwhile to "out" my brother on facebook as an abusive person? Several of my facebook friends went to school with him. And of course, most of my siblings as well as neices and nephews have me friended. I feel like it could be of benefit (especially to younger family members who may not know to steer clear of him), I also feel like it could permanently end my relationship with some family members - what little relationship exists. There's also something of a stigma to outing your dirty laundry on social media; I may just look like a drama queen. Thoughts?

    To be clear, my purposes in doing so would largely be: 1) warn nieces and nephews never to leave their kids alone with him and 2) give high school friends who may have been his victims some catharsis as well as 3) get some catharsis for myself.

    How you handle your personal life is your deal in the end. Putting everything out on social media has some fairly obvious ups and downs that you seem to be giving their appropriate weight. My only concern is that it could easily lead to your brother feeling like he is losing control of the situation which would not translate into a good time for those close to him. Reaching out privately might be a better course just so it doesn't create some unintended consequences.

    Ok, the consensus being no tells me it's a bad idea, so I'll abstain and leave it to authorities. But "reaching out privately"? To Shitlord? That didn't work back when I lived in the same house with him and (somehow) liked him, that's definitely not going to work now.

    Edit: Oh wait, you meant privately to my nieces and nephews and former high school friends? Well, I felt that an open communication, if I was going to communicate it at all, was the way to go since I'm not friends with everyone that he harmed, and a public declaration ensures that the message will get a broader view. Some of my nieces even have me blocked on Facebook for being 'too liberal.' It's also a matter of not knowing who would want that information, like should I tell my cousins in Chicago privately, when they are unlikely to ever meet Shitlord again? And what about the high school girlfriend that I know he probably sexually assaulted? She doesn't want me sending her a private message about something she's probably worked to forget! A public post, I felt like, could be ignored more easily than a private message, as weird as that sounds.

    Cambiata on
  • GnizmoGnizmo Registered User regular
    edited January 18
    Cambiata wrote: »
    Gnizmo wrote: »
    Cambiata wrote: »
    So, I haven't called any authorities on my brother yet, not even the school (I know, this sucks. I suck. I still will call CPS as soon as January is over though).

    Here's something I'm wondering: Is it worthwhile to "out" my brother on facebook as an abusive person? Several of my facebook friends went to school with him. And of course, most of my siblings as well as neices and nephews have me friended. I feel like it could be of benefit (especially to younger family members who may not know to steer clear of him), I also feel like it could permanently end my relationship with some family members - what little relationship exists. There's also something of a stigma to outing your dirty laundry on social media; I may just look like a drama queen. Thoughts?

    To be clear, my purposes in doing so would largely be: 1) warn nieces and nephews never to leave their kids alone with him and 2) give high school friends who may have been his victims some catharsis as well as 3) get some catharsis for myself.

    How you handle your personal life is your deal in the end. Putting everything out on social media has some fairly obvious ups and downs that you seem to be giving their appropriate weight. My only concern is that it could easily lead to your brother feeling like he is losing control of the situation which would not translate into a good time for those close to him. Reaching out privately might be a better course just so it doesn't create some unintended consequences.

    Ok, the consensus being no tells me it's a bad idea, so I'll abstain and leave it to authorities. But "reaching out privately"? To Shitlord? That didn't work back when I lived in the same house with him and (somehow) liked him, that's definitely not going to work now.

    Edit: Oh wait, you meant privately to my nieces and nephews and former high school friends? Well, I felt that an open communication, if I was going to communicate it at all, was the way to go since I'm not friends with everyone that he harmed, and a public declaration ensures that the message will get a broader view. Some of my nieces even have me blocked on Facebook for being 'too liberal.' It's also a matter of not knowing who would want that information, like should I tell my cousins in Chicago privately, when they are unlikely to ever meet Shitlord again? And what about the high school girlfriend that I know he probably sexually assaulted? She doesn't want me sending her a private message about something she's probably worked to forget! A public post, I felt like, could be ignored more easily than a private message, as weird as that sounds.

    Oh no not to him. That sounds like a super huge waste of time. I meant to the friends and family you wanted to warn. Sorry for not being clear.

    Edit: I see my response came at a wonky time. It makes sense to me to a certain degree not to want to send private messages like that. I am not a huge social media person so I am not intimately familiar with the etiquette behind a lot of it. I am also massively socially awkward. This is just a long way of saying that your objections make perfect sense to me, and I think you have a better grasp of the nuance than I do.

    Gnizmo on
    Cambiata
  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    If the subject is too sensitive to send private messages about, surely it is much much too sensitive to post publicly?

    ElvenshaeNightDragon
  • CambiataCambiata Commander Shepard The likes of which even GAWD has never seenRegistered User regular
    If the subject is too sensitive to send private messages about, surely it is much much too sensitive to post publicly?

    Well, I already said I wasn't going to do it. But hypothetically, to me it's the difference between discussing abuse in a public forum versus cornering someone in the bathroom and making them discuss the time they were assaulted. Public discussion allows anyone who wants to bow out to do so, private messages are an invasion of personal space, to a degree.

    I just hate that we live in a world where we don't talk about the people who do harm right and left, making it easy for them to find new victims. I understand it wouldn't help the way I want it to help, but it's frustrating. I hate that I, by my silence, am contributing to a Missing Stair.

  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    edited January 18
    No you are not, because the point is those people didn't do anything to stop the person. This is very very far from the situation in that article, because you're going to contact authorities as a first move, or that's my impression. You wouldn't be quietly giving him a pass, you would be doing the most appropriate thing that isn't going to destroy his contact with whoever actually cares enough about his son to look out for the kid's welfare. He is a minor at the hands of this person until this person no longer has access to him, the literal best course of action is to contact someone who can help him. Making a big thing online is not going to help him, it is going to make things worse for him when done as a "step 1."

    I appreciate that the guy probably has a ton of other victims, but the people you are talking about are adults with experiences that are not happening now. This thread is meant to be about a child who is in danger now. It is not appropriate to turn this into a very public thing until proper authorities who could actually intervene are ruled out. Your very public airings could make a lot of problems for a very private life for this kid.

    I know you've already said you don't plan to do the post, but the missing stair analogy you gave actually makes me angry and you had me until that moment. If those are the lines along which you are thinking, well... they're wrong unless you contact no one who can help him, which you have no means to do because you are far away. The analogy only applies when people who actively cover up for him or do nothing at all. You are contributing only until you call authorities, and your inaction is the only thing that keeps you that person. After you have called people who can maybe help, you won't be anymore. Whether or not you do something now is in your control. If you genuinely care about not being that person right away, you will stop being that person right away. I understand you have your reasons for not wanting to do that but you know. So does everybody. It's been itching me since the start of this thread that you are waiting because.. you promised your mom? Yeah okay. If you feel like you are doing the wrong thing for this kid, don't sit there talking about feeling bad about doing the wrong thing and keep doing it. Do the right thing the right way as soon as possible. You are currently doing nothing as a favor to people who are doing nothing about someone they know is doing a terrible thing to a child.

    That's been my feeling reading this thread. Maybe there's a super good reason your mother asked you to wait, like she's prepping to take him in or otherwise be actively helpful, and she doesn't feel she can be properly equipped to do so until that point. That is actually a very good reason and I can happily support that. In that case, you still aren't contributing because you are supporting someone who is going to help. I want to be very explicit that I am allowing for that as a possibility and a good thing. Or you just promised you'd wait because it makes her uncomfortable to have to deal with it before that and she's hoping you'll forget or change your mind. If the latter is the case, I'm not trying to have a thread where you don't do anything and no one else is doing anything and then you sit here feeling internet-words-sorry for yourself about it.

    ceres on
    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
    ElvenshaeNightDragon
  • CambiataCambiata Commander Shepard The likes of which even GAWD has never seenRegistered User regular
    edited January 18
    I don't know that it's a good reason, exactly, but Music has a concert coming up that Shitlord is both the sound engineer and instrumental accompaniment on. Also, Cool, one of the two people that Shitlord has put in the hospital, specifically requested that everyone wait. So I would be jeopardizing the livelihood of Music, throwing Kid's life into chaos, and even his half brother doesn't approve of the move. And probably CPS won't even take Kid out of the home, it'll just be the first step to maybe, someday, having Kid be moved to a safer place (which will make him miserable, at least at the beginning). And maybe even then it won't happen, there won't be enough evidence for CPS to take action, and it'll just be re-upping the abuse on Kid because his father will blame him because CPS are investigating, when maybe Kid can do like I tried to do and fly under Shitlord's notice.

    I did try to figure out what teacher/school to call to notify one of Kid's teachers, but I don't have that information without asking directly, and Shitlord would get suspicious if I asked. It doesn't feel like the best idea to call all the elementary schools in the area asking of Kid is enrolled there, it seems like the sort of things schools would guard against.

    Also as far as letting people know about Shitlord, I was at least thinking of people's kids and wanting to make sure that no one ever let their kids near Shitlord without supervision. The adult catharsis was a secondary motive that exists for sure, but keeping additional kids out of Shitlord's clutches was my number one thing.

    I know I suck and I hate that I'm not calling CPS right now. There are too many voices closer to the situation telling me not to and so I don't trust my own judgement. You're right to call me out, but I don't know how to be different right now.

    Cambiata on
  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    edited January 18
    You know the thing needs to be done and no one else has the wherewithal to do it.

    You know about where he lives? But not the school.

    Step 1) Call the school district and ask the best way to go about this within their system, or if they even take this sort of info, because you know literally nothing until you do that anyway.

    Did they give you the info? Call the place they told you to call and tell them what you want them to know. If you have his address you have his school. Scary, right? Did they say they don't take that kind of tip, or it's against policy somehow or other? That sucks. Either way, proceed to step 2.

    Step 2) Call an advocacy group in the area and ask the best steps to take in this situation. They should be able to give you an outline of what the process looks like in their state, likely outcomes, and the best path to take to get what needs to happen, to happen. Ask about what kind of timeline you can expect on it. Ask if there's anything else you can do.

    Step 3) Do those things.

    Step 4) Wait to hear something. And chances are very good that if things proceed, you will know without them having to tell you anything.

    Step 5) Once you've been through all that, if nothing happens then you can start throwing shit at the wall to see what sticks. First be proactive on the things that have the best chance of actually changing the situation for the better.

    The thing is, it's the 18th of January. Even if you want to spring into action on the first, you're going to find yourself hurrying up and waiting. This shit takes time. There are offices to call, offices to be redirected to, conversations to have only to be told still you weren't talking to the right person and then redirected again... This could be a slog depending on how organized each office is, and being safe and also getting the most out of these conversations is likely to take some time and effort. As an added bonus, you may be able to find out what behavior is explicitly illegal in their jurisdiction, and you can tell your mom to look out for those things, or signs of them.

    But if you're going to do this and not talk yourself out of it with "even his family says," you gotta get started with finding out your options and what you can do going forward. Make a plan, but start now.

    ceres on
    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
    ElvenshaeJaysonFourCambiataNightDragonzepherinMayabirdBrodyFry
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