I do not know whether my story will help others who face the same, but if it encourages men who are suffering ill-treatment to get help and support then it may just put an end to their domestic abuse.
You are welcome to use my experience as an example of how not to handle abuse. If I had found outside support when I endured the events I am about to relate, I believe my life may have taken a different, quite probably more harmonious course.
This is a true story, from my perspective. My wife and I married about a month after the birth of our son. I should have thought more about whether our relationship really was healthy before we tied the knot.
I preferred to believe any cracks and imperfections would be resolved by the fairy-tale ending of a wedding.
On the morning of our wedding my wife-to-be reached her arm out behind her, wheeled it round hard and slapped me full force across the face. She told me in a stage whisper that she hated me, my family and she hoped we would all die in a plane crash. I put it down to pre-nuptial nerves.
Our relationship had been of a whirlwind and it was passionate, tactile, and intense. A beautiful happy couple, for whom anything seemed possible.
She began to tell me I did not earn enough to keep her, and that I had trapped her. Then I heard I was not good looking enough and that I was too old for her. This gradually devolved into aggressive verbal outbursts about my odour, my physique and perceived lack of muscle.
For a time life did get better. Within a month my son had been born, we’d married, I’d both been made redundant and immediately headhunted for a new job.
Then things went downhill. I was kicked and scratched. Objects were thrown at me – dinner plates, ornaments, anything that lay to hand. Books were ripped up.
My sister noticed scratches on my face. I said it was from shaving. She didn’t believe me, as my beard didn’t grow on my nose, so how on earth did I cut myself there? I changed my story, which just provoked more disbelief. Now I was actually lying to my family.
One morning – it must have been a Saturday as I was at home for breakfast – my wife opened a letter and demonstratively placed the contents in front of me on the table. She sat back and looked self-satisfied, she placed a brochure from the local family doctor about domestic violence to women on the table. She told me she’d reported me at the doctor’s surgery, and that the doctor had suggested the authorities could intervene.
Evidently she’d already spoken with social services. I was dumbstruck when I realised the truth had been turned on its head, and my wife, the abuser, was actually playing the role of the abused to the outside world.
I had no-one to talk to about things; all family and friends had been ostracised and I had no outside point of reference. My perspective was distorted, and remained so for want of an outsider’s opinion.
After five months in England, my wife left with my son and returned abroad to her mother. In time I went to visit.
During the abuse I remained loyal to my little dysfunctional family and kept things to myself. This persisted until our separation, and inevitable acrimonious divorce. Ironically, despite all the attempts I made for the sake of my son to keep the relationship from becoming a battlefield, I have now not seen him for over 10 years.
Had my wife and I tackled the issues earlier, many arguments might have been avoided, and a lot of her violence and abuse may never have taken place. As it was we burned too many bridges, and too much trust was undermined by the lies, and the violence of the words and physical attacks.
So there it is: my advice to those who are, understandably hiding, whether from the shame and ignominy, or out of fear of actually being beaten by their wife or girlfriend.
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