Twenty minutes ago, I came home with the daily groceries, put them away, loaded dirty dishes in the dishwasher and took out the trash all while my daughters, 9 and 16, sat in the living room watching a movie and didn't even glance my way past thanking me for getting them lunch. In other words, it was the same thing I do every day, just like always. Except now, in the back of my mind, memento mori rings clear. The reason for that goes back twelve hours: last night, there was an altercation in my apartment between my father-in-law, my spouse, and myself. It escalated to him calling the police on me for assault... and ended in him being taken away, in handcuffs, in the back of a squad car. They told us it was an outstanding warrant - others in the family say he had been talking just the other day about Failure to Appear In Court - but they also told us they, the City of Farmers Branch, would be pressing charges of family violence on him for what transpired.

Were we not locked in an abusive situation, I would be ecstatic about this news, and part of me still somewhat feels that way. Good riddance, that part of my brain says. He has taken our hospitality and used it to treat us like his personal slaves for five years, in a situation where he can do no wrong and anyone who says otherwise is the scum of the earth. Unfortunately, abusive situations always have a lock, a trap. A dead man's switch, if you would, where if the abuser is removed from a situation, everyone he interacted with is harmed. DeAnna, my spouse, was his stay-at-home caretaker, which meant his Medicaid was paying her income. If he is out of the picture, we not only lose the $600 contribution he made monthly to bills and rent, we lose over half of DeAnna's working wages. She only makes approximately $1000 a month in wages and can't find another job due to her newly-developed seizures (roughly one every two weeks, semi- but not completely predictable, for the last ten months) making it impossible to safely be alone or do labor for any span of time. If her abuser, one of her two clients, is out of the picture, we lose another $600 to $700 a month in her wages. I receive a $730 disability stipend every month due to my social anxiety and bipolar leaving me unable to cope in society, and her uncle - her other client - makes roughly the same due to being physically disabled and unable to walk more than a few feet at a time.

We could normally manage, even in this worst of times. We would ask for assistance, friends both in-person and online would do their best to help, and we would cut back as much as we could. It's not as tight a fit as it seems, considering losing the $600 contribution from my father-in-law would also mean we lose the $400+ deficit from his cigarette addiction which, to him, eclipses even the need for food or shelter. The problem, however, comes at the end of the next month.

On July 31st, the lease on our apartment expires. Most leases require you to have proof of income equal to or greater than double your rent in order for you to sign. Our rent is $1205 a month... and our household income, should the worst come to pass, would be $1700-1800 a month. I am mentally disabled, Steve is physically disabled, DeAnna has a condition that makes it a significant risk to herself and others for her to work. Even were she to get in a situation where Social Security would consider her a case for disability herself, there's not enough time for bureaucracy to work through its red tape and help.

There are three outcomes to this situation that I can see:

  • DeAnna's father is returned here with a slap on the wrist and a stern talking to. This is the best option financially, but the worst option emotionally. We wouldn't be in a hopeless situation... but the thought that it will happen again, far more permanently, will hang over us until it comes to pass once more. In addition, I have no doubts that he will hold this incident against me and against DeAnna if he was at all lucid during the incident, and will only abuse us harder should he be returned to the household.
  • DeAnna's father, while in custody, shows just how unstable and unwell he is, and gets taken to the locak psychiatric hospital. This is the best option emotionally, as it potentially allows everyone a chance to heal and recover... but it and the next option both leave us in dire straits where we may end up homeless in two months' time.
  • The worst comes to pass and DeAnna's father is either incarcerated or harmed due to his own recklessness and bullishness. This actually has no worse effects on the household than the last option, but it would strain on DeAnna's already fragile mental state more and could actually worsen whatever is causing her seizures. She and I already blame ourselves for what happened, as abuse victims often do.

I'm not asking for help here. I don't know what help we need, or even how to receive it. I'm not asking you to keep me in your prayers, as I came to terms with the fact long ago that, if there is a God that actually has power over this world, I and my family are forsaken by that God.

I just wanted to tell people about my situation. That way, if on August 1st, 2015, I'm no longer around... well, everyone knows why. That way, while I'm having an unending anxiety breakdown over the last few months and feel like the world is crumbling beneath my fingers, people know what caused it.

Thank you for reading this; if you have, know that you are one of the most important people in my life, and I love you like family. And I'm sorry, if I've ever hurt any of you.