It Isn’t Only Women Who Are Victims Of Abuse.

I was married to my ex-wife for over 12 years and during the course of our marriage she systematically and increasingly abused me mentally and emotionally. She made me emotionally dependent upon her and diminished my sense of self-worth. She continued the abuse via the legal system following the breakdown of our marriage and our separation – which she initiated – whilst all the time putting the blame for all that was wrong in our marriage squarely on my shoulders.

The roots of the problems lay in both of our childhoods. As result the death of my father at the age of 4, I had developed as an anger response from an early age as a protective mechanism (which I discovered through therapy) that manifested itself as a temper-rage and caused by a form of PTSD resulting from the trauma of losing my father. During times when I found myself under extreme duress from which I was unable to escape, I would explode with rage. This was never directed in a physical manner towards her, it came out in the form of shouting, which would cause her to back off long enough for me to remove myself from the situation; I would leave the house and go for a walk, breaking down into uncontrollable crying once the anger had subsided and before calm once again fell upon me.

She knew exactly which buttons to press to bring out this reaction from me. What did she get out of this? She could then play the victim and use my apologies and regret as a means of exerting her power over me and subjugating me into doing her will in order to “get into her good books.”

A lifetime of psychological abuse by her parents caused her to demonstrate certain behaviours, the origin of which lay in the emotional abuse to which she was subjected as a child. Her alcoholic mother was emotionally distant and at times openly verbally abusive and her father, who came from very poor background, was obsessed with the accumulation of wealth and the social status associated with it. He used the control of money as a means of exerting power and control.

Children learn about relationships from their parents through a process of social learning, and especially observational learning. My ex-wife grew up in a household where control was everything; if you didn’t have it, you were nobody.

She has a very low self-esteem and I spent a good deal of time and expended a good deal of energy trying to help her to develop a healthy level of self-esteem.

She also has high expectations of marriage, built around an idealised fantasy of a secure, supportive and loving relationship that she imagined her friends enjoyed with their parents. She expected me to behave according to her expectations of what her partner should be like, in a diametric opposite to that of her parents’ relationship and demanded – very subtly - that I should change to accommodate her expectations.

A prime example of this was her “post party post- mortems” that would occur during the drive home following a social engagement. This process involved her listing each behaviour I had demonstrated during the evening that she judged to be inappropriate or unwelcome, under the guise of her “helping” me. I would be subjected to this very subtle form of emotional abuse in order to help her to fulfil her unrealistic domestic fantasy.

As a result of growing resentment towards me, she became emotionally distant, blaming me for her inability to achieve the intense multiple ******* that had once been a feature of our sexual relationship. She blamed my failure to meet her expectations as to just what is required for her to achieve this with angry outbursts such as “I’ve told you often enough”, although she herself was unable to express her desires at the time, I was expected to intuitively know exactly what she wanted me to do, even though this varied every time we made love.

Following the split and in order to protect herself from having to face her own contribution to the failure of our marriage, she projected the blame for all difficulties in our relationship onto me. She rationalised her behaviour by convincing herself that that the marriage was wholly unpleasant, that destroying it was good and that I should be punished for forcing her to endure this purgatory that had been our marriage.

Unable to confront the reality of her own role in the failed marriage and the growing feelings of anger, resentment and anxiety that she was now experiencing, she resorted to projection as a protective mechanism. This culminated in her having a Violence Restraining Order issued against me, accompanied with allegations of domestic violence which she knew to be one of the most ignominious of insults that could be aimed towards me; I have never hit a woman in my life, she knew how I despise violence against women and especially the perpetrators of this hideous crime.

Following our separation, she denied me access to our children, whom I adore and whose company I revel in and drove me to the point of seriously contemplating suicide; it was only the thought of what this would do to my boys that saved me.

She told the courts that I was psychotic and had bipolar disorder. A subsequent psychiatric report refuted her claims and she rejected the report, saying the psychiatrist was biased. She made claims that the boys were not safe in my care and I had to endure the ignominy of undergoing a period whereby I could only see them for 2 hours per week at a supervised access centre.

We haven’t begun to settle property matters following the divorce - it has taken me nearly 3 years and cost in excess of $60,000 to finalise child custody matters, but I now have 40% shared parenting care of our children. She still claims she is the victim of my abuse and she still claims our children need to be protected from me.

I now have a new relationship; my partner and I have now been together for over 2 years. She has never seen me lose my temper….. my first outburst towards my ex-wife came less than a month after our wedding.

It isn’t only women who are victims of abuse.
gr8legz gr8legz
1 Response May 9, 2012

You are absolutely right, abuse isn't discriminatory. It just seems it's more prevalent for women to be victims, or maybe, men are less inclined to speak of it. Which, in my opinion, is probably the case. They don't want their masculinity called in to question, I suppose. I'm glad you've removed yourself from the situation.

Both of your points are valid LadyHawke68. Abuse probably is more prevalent amongst women; however, men are also less likely to admit to being victims for fear of being seen as being "less than a man" and also, because there is less awareness amongst the public at large as to what consitutes abuse, may not realise they are being abused.
This was certainly the case for myself. Because of my shouting and anger, I was made to believe it was me who was the abusive one and it was only when I began seeing a therapist to deal with some of the issues I had that it was made aware that, in fact, she was the abuser.
Women are often more subtle in their methods of abuse than men.

I'm female and was abused by my ex in a similar way to how your wife abused you. A week out of the relationship has helped me see that, and then reading your post opened my eyes a lot more to everything. I have major depressive disorder and my ex totally dismissed my illness and wouldn't help me with anything around the house, even though I contributed to bills. Whenever I brought it up he would become totally condescending, I would fly into a rage, and then he would become the victim. He was my only friend so I felt that I couldn't leave him. Now I realize what a bad person he is.

I'm happy you found happiness Sr. All the best.