My husband and I lived together the last 17 years, most of the time in rented places but in the last 5.5 years in our first bought house which we’d renovated every detail throughout together (and some still to do in garden).
This house is in a deprived area where half the residents live in council houses and half rent privately/own. Some like me are “outsiders” and some are born and bred and they all know each other, the rest of us keep ourselves to ourselves.
That half of them born and bred here have different rules than the rest of us and allow their kids to kick balls at our houses, trespass into our back gardens and my next door neighbour even found one setting fire to his pigeon muck (I know how stereotypically northern england!) in her chimnea in her garden whilst he had a beer sitting in her garden chair, he didn’t even move when she came out to ask what the f he was doing!
My other next door neighbour moved after one of the locals threatened to slit her dogs throats as they barked a lot. 3 houses opposite are empty as those people couldn’t stand it either and our house had been empty for years before we bought it.
When we moved in, the windows and doors were smashed, graffiti and the local kids (back when I used to talk with them as at first I tried friendly tactics but it didn’t work) told me it was them and their families that took things from the old man’s house.
Over the years my husband and I reported to the police many times and also wrote to MP, Mayor, police commissioner, Councillors and all sorts over what we see as a lack of enforcement of the law in this poor area. Their response is more or less that this is how it is in these areas and we don’t belong here.
We had around 300 incidents over 5 years (most in the first three years but a couple still this year). Things like groups of teenagers climbing over into our back garden and giving us abuse, them trampling hedge or breaking fences and smashing bricks from walls, rocks and bricks thrown into the garden or at the house, airgun fired and other missiles at the cameras we installed for evidence gathering, threats to harm us, loose aggressive dogs pooing in our garden, flytipping into our back garden. Persistent ringing of our doorbell/hammering at our door, damage to plants and noise from these kids screaming outside sitting on our garden wall. Stealing our bins to set fire to. So nothing really serious but enough to build up nervousness in me that I didn’t used to have.
There are also rows and fights in the street and low level drug taking going on regularly.
This is why we could afford a detached house with a big garden however instead of a small apartment. I love to watch hedgehogs, feed the birds, frogs in the pond, I have trees and my husband had built me a shelter in the garden where I can sit with a heater or fire on and read a book. It’s one of my favourite places ever when it is quiet, which is most of the time. I sat in it yesterday for 10 min and felt some peace which is rare lately.
Besides these anti social behaviour episodes that get less and less the house is very comfortable for me and our 4 cats have a lovely garden with trees to play in.
Since my husband died I do have some big problems with home automation he installed (and I tried several companies but they also don’t understand it as he was at the extreme end of this new technology) but I think in the end I could fix it.
I don’t drive and I don’t know anyone locally so I am quite isolated and vulnerable.
Then of course the big thing is that I miss my husband so much and not sure I can take care of the cats and myself well as my brain is not working properly anymore. I never lived alone and get very scared thinking about it.
My sister in law says I need to get a nightlight and lock the doors and persist on my own (which I’ve not tried yet) until I get over my fears because my home is my home and where I really want to be and she said moving with her parents was the worst thing and made her even more unhappy after her breakup. She made me promise I would try it but I am not sure if I can as it terrifies me.
My mum says I should live with her, my brother and stepdad. They live around 30 mins drive (if no traffic) from my house. Last night I stayed at their house to try it just overnight. Everything is annoying and I feel like a child again. For example my stepfather has all these rules about the toilet and what time I can use it (shower , basin, toilet are in the same room). He had bowel cancer and spends hours in the toilet writing down his motions in a little book there.
My brother says it makes him so frustrated living here because they are always giving him unsolicited advice and treat him like a child (he is mid 30s)but he bites his lip because he knows they mean well and we are lucky to have them. They won’t change their ways and it hurts us to let them think we are ungrateful for all they do for us as we do know we are very lucky.
Once I am working again it will be difficult because if my stepdad is on the toilet I would have to go to work without a shower/hygiene (as my brother says he has to sometimes).
Also they regularly eat off food or things I tell them I dont like but they give me anyway (again I’m aware how ungrateful that is… I do just eat it). It makes me feel very submissive and like a little girl when I did have this adult life.
A big fear is about my cats, there is one cat at my mums and she has to sleep outside (there is a shed but my cats are treated like royalty lol so it would be a big change for them). My mum already made several comments about the food I feed them being too expensive and she keep giving them other food at my house which they eat but then are sick.
Also at my house she has moved a lot of stuff around since she has been helping me this last month or criticised the way my husband had made something which upset me.
Once lock down is over my mums house always has a lot of visitors and phone rings loudly (stepdad is deaf) all the time whereas I m normally quite peaceful and quiet at my house and it makes me stressed all the goings on at mums constantly. I used to hate it as a teenager and moved out at 17 just as soon as I could.
I live my mum and stepdad very much though and it might be nice to help them (if they let me, usually they know better though…) She lives in a lovely area where they don’t see druggies or expect anti social behaviour like I do and the neighbours there would help if there was some problem as everyone knows each other.
I know I am lucky to even have options but I just don’t know what’s best. Stayingat mums last night reminded me of all the things I found so irritating last time. Like now it’s 7am and I’d like a coffee but my stepdad is doing his exercises in the kitchen (he doesn’t stop if you go in there).
I’m not sure what to do. I feel a lot safer at my mums but stressed in a different way. Which is worse… I don’t know.