A Man’s Perspective on Being Abused
Since October is apparently “Domestic Abuse Awareness Month”, and since one of my readers suggested I write an article on men who get abused, I thought that was an excellent idea because, while it may not be as common an occurrence as it is for women, it does happen. And men need to be heard, too.
I interviewed a man in his senior years, who has had the misfortune to have been married to three abusive women. As all three were, apparently, very similar in their abusiveness, I have taken the sum of the interview as a whole, and have compiled a type of composite woman to refer to as “she”, for your easier understanding. Here is his courageous story.
“The rages were always sudden and unexpected. I never knew what had occurred to cause them. I can’t recall any arguments or fights happening prior to these sudden, evil rages.
We were happy much of the time. But every once in awhile, she would blow up and begin to call me evil names, saying how wicked I was, when even just a moment before, she might have been telling me how much she loved me! She would scream and rage uncontrollably, sometimes trying to hurt me, and threatening to leave me, or even kill me! Once she hit me in the face so hard, she broke open my cheek. And once, she lacerated my hands with a set of keys. And sometimes she would throw things at me. Her tongue lashings were brutal.
I made really good money at my trade, but it never seemed to be enough. It seemed I was always in debt, usually back taxes and unpaid bills. This was owing to the fact that she would either be gambling away the money, or out shopping and partying with her friends, while I was at work. Our house was overflowing with antiques and things we didn’t need, or have room for, but there was no way I could stop her from spending us out of house and home. There were a couple of occasions where I actually had to sell our house or the equipment to pay off the debts. She wouldn’t even make lunch for me, when I was working long hours to supply her wants!
Once the kids got older, things got worse. She would undermine my authority by teaching them to rebel against me, giving them whatever they wanted, to keep them on her side. If I tried to address the financial problems we were facing, they would all gang up on me. Usually, she would turn everything around on me whenever I tried to talk about any of our problems, until I couldn’t speak of them at all.
She didn’t care about anything I owned. She would let the kids and their boyfriends drive my cars while I was at work, not caring if they dinted them or broke off the door handles. This was very discouraging.
But the lying- wow! She lied about me to everybody behind my back, and I began to wonder why my friends wouldn’t come around to see me anymore. I would come home unexpectedly from work, and find her partying with other men. You couldn’t pin her down on anything!
But the good times we had kept me hoping things would be better this time. I would think, ‘Maybe this time she will tell me all the bills are paid.’ (One big problem I had, is that I was illiterate, so she took care of the bills, or was supposed to, but didn’t. If I could have been able to read, perhaps things might have been different, at least on the financial end.)”
When I asked him how all this made him feel, this is what he said:
“It was really confusing; and I was stunned. Stunned, because the rages would come so suddenly out of nowhere, and I was left standing there being cut to shreds with her words, not having a clue what I had done to cause this behaviour.
I was ashamed, too, because my own family didn’t like her, and would avoid us, even though they came to visit my brother on the same yard. I never thought about being angry, but it was very confusing.”
When asked if he felt afraid, he answered, “No, not afraid, because I knew I could handle her if she got violent.”
Did you ever think of leaving? “No, because we had children, and I believe in commitment. But there was one time in winter, just before I got converted, when I was determined to head north until I ran out of food and gas, and walk north until I starved to death. I was that tired of the whole mess. But the Lord had mercy on me.
Oh! I have to tell you that after I became a born again Christian — that was a miracle in itself — the abuse increased dramatically. She even tried to kill me with a butcher knife, and one night I heard her rattling the guns in the gun case. Still, I was not afraid. The Lord kept me in perfect peace.”
When I asked him if he had ever tried to get help, he replied, “No, I never thought of her behaviour as abuse because I didn’t understand it. But a man doesn’t talk about such things, anyways, usually, he just handles it the best way he knows how. I suppose if I could have talked with someone, I might have been able to get help. Besides, I never EVER would have thought of saying that she was abusing me. That was just the way things were.
She told me much later, when she divorced me on false grounds, that she was deliberately trying to ruin me financially. She sued me and had the courts take away my livelihood, my shop, and everything, right near retirement, when it was too late for me to begin again.”
So why didn’t you get help from the church, now that you were a Christian? Here is his sad answer.
“The church actually helped her in wrongdoing. [This was with the last two wives, who professed to be Christians.] She was able to falsely accuse me without anybody from the church coming to see me, and find out what was really going on. They encouraged her to divorce me, and even sue me, even though that is totally against the word of God!”
So what would you tell other men who may have similar experiences with their wives?
“When I had gone for counselling, they had insisted I read a book called “Walking on Eggshells”, which greatly helped me understand this behaviour. These women all suffered from what is called, “borderline personality disorder”, a term used to describe someone who has “emotional hemophilia”. It comes from having been abused as a child, and is their way of dealing with their inability to receive love. It is also sometimes called “crazy-making disease”, and that is completely accurate! Sometimes I felt like I was going crazy!”
Not very many men will be that forthright about their experiences, and I can understand why. A man wants to appear strong and in control, and admitting that he has been the victim of abuse by a woman is rather humbling, and can seem a bit weak. But I believe their stories need to be told, too, so I am encouraging my readers to tell me their stories.
Awareness of domestic abuse of all kinds is a necessary step to helping put an end to it.