It is day 20 of Domestic Violence Awareness Month for Men and Boys, the invisible victims of domestic violence. Today’s In His Own Words is yet another example of the meat grinder men find themselves in when they don’t have an understanding of abusive, sociopathic women.
The following is just a fraction of what “Matt’s” ex has put him, their children and his family through. She is still playing games with custody and using others to commit proxy violence against Matt. The UK family court system has enabled much of it.
Life with the Missus
It began at my workplace. She was younger than me and married, so we were friends and nothing more. After 8 months of friendship, she announced out of the blue that she told her ex-husband she was leaving him. She quickly added the disclaimer, “My leaving him has nothing to do with you.”
I had absolutely no idea she was having any problems with her marriage, and the way she spoke about her husband, it was as if everything was fine. I asked, “Why have you left him then?”
She claimed she’d been sleeping on the couch for months, and that he’d had sex with three of her ‘friends’ 5 years ago. She went on to up to say he was a ‘useless father’ to their 2 kids, and that he was ‘lazy.’ At the time, I felt very sorry for her, thinking what kind of person could do a thing like that with her friends?
That was back in 2006.
A month or so later, she moved into another property with her kids. Shortly thereafter, she invited me to a BBQ she was having and I accepted. At the BBQ, her behaviour was somewhat manic/erratic, but I put that down to the fact she’d had a couple of glasses of wine. Two of my friends who accompanied me told me the next day that ‘something wasn’t quite right’ about her.
I shrugged their concerns off. I guess that was the beginning for me in making excuses for her behaviour. I felt so sorry for her having such a’ rough ride’ with her ex. The more she said about him, the bigger a monster he became in my eyes. She also claimed he’d hit her a few times.
That night, we started a relationship and I stayed the night. By morning, my intuition told me I should not get involved, so I distanced myself from her. I didn’t see her for a couple of weeks until I ‘bumped into’ her at work. In fact, she saw me arrive at work, and approached my car before I had got out of it.
‘ Hi,’ she says. ‘How have you been? I haven’t seen you for ages.’ We chatted, she seemed a lot different than she was before, and came across as much nicer. We arranged to meet up in the daytime and go for lunch. She was apparently very ‘into me’ and made me feel like I could do no wrong.
The relationship blossomed. By this time, I had dismissed my friends’ remarks and my initial intuitive feelings. As far as I could tell, I had this gorgeous girl who was extremely nice and made me feel fantastic.
Things got better and better. Soon she began pushing to make the relationship into something more permanent. I was helpless to resist, and let her move into my home.
She was very sociable, and wanted us to go out regularly as a couple. In fact, she insisted we not go out anywhere alone, as that’s how mistrust begins. To be honest, I was ok with that, as I enjoyed her company very much. At this point, I hadn’t realised the true implications of her intent.
I have a craft hobby, one that I have always done and like to spend the odd few hours, now and again, pursuing. Prior to our romance, she had never expressed any objection toward my hobby. In fact, she seemed to be enthralled by it, and positively encouraged it.
One day, she playfully said, ‘Attention please.’ Well, we spent pretty much all of my spare time practically glued together, always wanting close contact, cuddles on the couch, watching TV, etc. I had never met anyone who had wanted such close contact on a regular basis as she.
I didn’t mind and actually found it quite flattering, at first. However, it soon became clear that she wanted more and more closeness. I generally have no problems with intimacy, but realised it was becoming too much. Soon the time I spent on my hobby and myself had become extremely limited. Time spent on my hobby or any time spent without her was met with derision, to the point I felt guilty about wanting to engage in any pastime that didn’t include her.
She then discussed the possibility of having children. To be honest, I welcomed the idea. I’d had a family some years before, which crumbled when my first ex-wife resumed a relationship with a man she dated before me. After we divorced, I lost everyday contact with our kids, which hurt me very much. Seeing them every other weekend may be long for a family again.
So when the opportunity arose to have another family with this woman, who I loved very much, presented itself, I gleefully took the offer. Shortly after, she was pregnant with our first child.
We married when my ex-wife was 7 months pregnant. When our daughter was born, I was like a man possessed. I could not hide my happiness, and felt like the cat that got the cream. Here I was, with a beautiful, charming, funny, attentive wife, and a beautiful new baby. I was so happy, words cannot describe!
This is when another red flag reared it’s ugly head. I noticed that my wife was becoming jealous of our baby. One day, she said, “I can see the love in your eyes when you look at her, why don’t you look at me like that?” Her words burnt into my memory. This really shocked me. I rationalised her comment by telling myself it’s probably my fault, and maybe it was true, maybe I did show her too much attention, and had somehow neglected my wife to some degree in the process.
Time went by, and the bond with my child grew stronger. Every day, I would think how lucky I was. I just couldn’t stop smiling. I have a DSLR camera. I put it to good use taking lots of pictures of my wife and baby together, and lots of my little one as she began to make progress in her early life. Stuff I believe most normal dads would do.
Over time, the jealousy toward our infant child got worse and worse. My wife was becoming upset, and I found myself reassuring her that I loved her as much as always, but was just excited to find myself in the position of being a daddy again.
Things started to settle (or so I thought) and we had minor problems as most couples do. My wife decided that it would be wonderful to have another child. From the outset of her pregnancy, my ex became more irritated by little things, which I attributed to pregnancy hormones. She began a pattern of packing her things and driving our daughter to her mother’s house, saying I ‘don’t love’ her, and that she was leaving for good.
She’d return the next day, and I pulled out all the stops to show her that I loved her. Sadly, she just became more convinced that I didn’t love her. I was becoming more and more stressed. She left a total of 5 times, returning the next day. When she left for the fifth time, she was 5 months pregnant with our little boy.
As usual, she was screaming and crying, saying I don’t love her over and over. As she went to leave, I decided she was going to stay. I locked the front door and removed the key. I didn’t want her driving with my daughter and unborn baby in such a state of upset. My ex had had 5 car crashes of varying degrees in the past, but on this occasion her mental state was far worse. I wanted her to stay put until she calmed down.
She went for the front door again and tried to kick me in my testicles (I was standing in front of the door). I deflected her leg with mine, and my knee gently brushed over her abdomen. The argument got heated. I tried to put her on the couch in a vain attempt to get her to calm down. She pulled the telephone receiver above her head and dialed the police emergency number.
I took the phone from her hand, and ended the call. She was still crying and screaming and lashing out with her arms. I restrained her arms to stop receiving blows. Around 10 minutes later, an officer from the traffic division knocked on my door, I went to the door and unlocked it to let him inside, he observed that I had to unlock the door, and obviously I suppose, guessed I had locked her in, making me look like the bad guy.
He stated he would be leaving soon and that the regular uniformed police were coming to take over. Ex was crying on the couch. The regular police officers arrived, and the traffic cop left. Two more police officers arrived, one male and one female. The female officer very quickly assumed the worse when my wife told her I had ‘kicked’ her in the stomach.
I was arrested and taken to the Police Station in a police car. It was very humiliating, as I my neighbours, who must have heard the noise, saw me being taken away in a police car. Before locking me up, they took a DNA swab from my mouth, photographs and my fingerprints. This was easily the most humiliating experience of my life.
I was trying to protect my ex and the kids (one unborn) by keeping her in the house. She is an awful driver at the best of times, has a history of five accidents. She once smashed into a stationary car claiming she ‘forgot to brake,’ so you can see why I was concerned for my kids’ safety.
My wife was examined by a Police Doctor, while I was detained in the cells. Eventually, I was herded into another room for a taped interview. I told the officers that I’d reached the end of my tether. I was frustrated, and,yes, I shouted at her as she did to me. I told the police I was desperate to keep her at home because I was worried about her driving in that state with my children in the car.
After a couple of hours, I was taken to the desk sergeant. He told me I was free to leave with a letter declaring NFA (No Further Action). They informed me that they found no marks on her body, and that our unborn baby was fine. The female police officer told me she had spoken to my wife, who had described our relationship as ‘passionate’ and that she loved me very much!
My ex-wife later said her ‘hormones were to blame’ for her behaviour. That was in December 2008.
Time passed and things were generally better, but she still accused me of varying different crimes like having affairs at work. She would always ask who I was working with, are there any new girls on shift, and what are they like, etc. She would phone during night shifts at the hospital where I work, usually around 2 AM. My colleagues asked why she called in the early hours of the morning. I can only assume it was because she wanted to see if I was actually at work, and not at some woman’s house having illicit relations!
Our son was born in April 2009. It was a very difficult time. My ex had started arguing again, accusing me of having affairs, saying I didn’t love her, and that she was leaving. By this time, I was worn down. These accusations occurred on a regular basis and no amount of logic or reassurance worked.
On the morning the Health Visitor was coming to check on our son, I was getting more and more upset, as she was preparing to leave me yet again. By the time the HV arrived, I was in a terrible state, shaking, frightened and confused. My wife was calm, and to all intents and purposes, appeared ok. The HV lady quickly picked up on my emotional state and thought that I was mentally imbalanced.
In fact, she was correct. I had suffered months upon months of incessant emotional abuse and was close to breaking point as she was about to leave again, taking our children with her. The HV asked if I was ok. I didn’t want the her to know that my ex was leaving. I replied that I was depressed. I was pacing around a lot, as I always do when I’m upset.
The HV asked me to sit down, and I started crying. My son started crying in the HV’s arms. She asked me if I would like to hold him, but I was in no fit state to comfort him, so had to refuse. She asked, ‘Does his crying make you angry?’ I said everything was upsetting me, meaning my whole home situation. The HV later told my ex-wife that she was ‘worried’ about my being around him.
I felt so much shame that my wife was yet again leaving me, that I couldn’t discuss the reasons why I was so upset. I said I felt depressed and the HV referred me to book an appointment with my GP.
I have no idea whether that HV told my ex-wife that she had concerns over me being with the baby or not. Whether it was true or not, my ex repeated it over and over to make me feel bad, as she really seems to love hurting me in anyway she can. To this day, she maintains I told the HV I don’t like our son. I never uttered those words, and have since heard she has told anyone who will listen the same thing.
Adding to my stress and depression, our household bills were being paid, but not the mortgage. It was 2 months in arrears. My wife had a habit of buying and consuming 4 litres of Coke drink per day. She’d had this habit since we first met. I tried in vain to wean her off of it. The convenience store across the street was her preferred purchasing point for the Coke, being expensive at £1.50 per bottle. That’s £84 per month on Coke alone, plus her 40 cigarette per day habit, equating to (most days) £8/day= £150-£200 per month (some days she smoked 20, most days she smoked 40).
Incidentally, she smoked all the way through both pregnancies, even though she assured me she would quit before the second pregnancy (she didn’t). Our daughter has severe asthma, and needs medication to keep her well now. My ex also has asthma, poorly controlled. She won’t use her inhalers regularly, particularly the steroid based inhaler, which is designed to stave off further attacks if used daily. Despite doctor’s advice, she wouldn’t use it, as she was fearful the steroid content would make her ‘fat.’ It would be impossible in such small doses, but she knew better.
One day I found a packet of Prozac. One of its possible side effects is weight loss. She had either lied or coerced her GP to prescribe it. She was hardly eating and taking swigs from a bottle of ‘Effico’ tonic to lose weight. She was a size 6, at just over 5′ tall, that is skinny, but insisted she was fat. She probably asked me 30 times a day if she looked fat (no kidding). If we were ever going out for an evening, she would try on at least 8-10 different outfits (dresses). She would ask me, and anyone else who might be present, if she looked fat, over and over.
My ex had many, many dresses. She would come home most days with new outfits, saying she bought them from charity shops. In reality, they were NEW dresses, so no wonder the mortgage was falling behind. At the beginning of our relationship, one of her friends remarked that my ex was ‘High Maintenance.’ I thought she was just kidding, but that’s exactly how she is.
When our son was 6 weeks old, she finally moved out for good. My father had just passed away from cancer. She and I had been looking after him for some time. He and my mother divorced 20 years before, and he purchased a mobile home/trailer. My wife started a friendship with my father that had dark dynamics.
She had worked on my father, playing the victim and generally taking him in. She pretty much destroyed my relationship with him. He even gave his collection of expensive shotguns to her ex-husband before me. I know, it’s all very, very weird. When he died, he left his home to her. He made a will, essentially leaving 5K to each of his grandchildren upon the sale of his home.
He specifically asked my ex not to sell the home back to the site owner, as he knew he would only offer around 5-6 k maximum (the home was worth 18-20k on the market). She sold it about a month after his death to the site owner, for a mere 5k. The grandchildren lost out, and she wasted the money in a few weeks.
By this time, my ex had rented a property in a village about 8 miles from me. I was still living in my home, working long hours, and negotiating with the mortgage company to clear up the arrears. One day she brought the children to the hospital restaurant to meet me for breakfast.
All seemed well and she was in a good mood for a change. I went home to bed. I woke around 4pm, and sent a text asking how the kids were. She replied, ‘Leave me and my children alone’. I text her back, no reply. I tried calling her, she wouldn’t pick up, so decided that I must go there as I had no idea why I had received that text, and needed to know.
When I arrived, she wasn’t home. I so sat in the garden with a drink to wait. She arrived 15 minutes later and saw me in the garden. She opened the door and shouted very loudly, ‘Fuck off!! What the fuck are you doing here!!!!” She slammed the door and locked it. I didn’t say a word, and just continued to sit there.
Ten minutes later, she opened the door and yelled, ‘I thought I told you to fuck off, now fuck off and leave us alone!!’ She went back inside, leaving the door open. I gingerly went in behind her saying ‘I can see you’re angry, but honestly I have no idea why you sent me that text. Please just tell me and I’ll go.’ She said, ‘It was your son’s eye appointment today. He could be blind and you couldn’t be bothered to come along, now fuck off and leave us alone!!!’
My daughter was in another room. She caught sight of me and ran towards me saying, ‘Daddy!’ with a big smile across her face. My ex literally pulled our daughter by one arm into the air and caught her. ‘He’s not your daddy! I’m going to find you a proper daddy, now FUCK OFF! you are no better than a piece of shit on my shoes, die, die, DIE!!!!!!’ Our baby boy looked terrified at his mother’s outburst.
I went to comfort him. When she realised what I was about to do, she pulled him out of his walker by one arm, flung him into the air, and caught him in her other arm. I was astounded, confused and utterly speechless by this uncontrolled demonstration of staggering venom. Our children were frightened and I was powerless to help, as I knew anything I did would make her worse.
Moments later, her phone rang. It was a friend. Her demeanour and tone instantly changed from vile, loud, violent abusive fisherman’s wife into 1000% victim. In a crocodile tear voice she says, ‘Can you please come around? Matt is here and I don’t want him here. He’s frightening the children.’
Maybe I should have left at this point, but I know my ex too well. I knew she would twist things around and blame me for her actions. I thought leaving would make me look guilty, so I went into another room and waited. Her friend and her friend’s boyfriend arrived minutes later. Ex is now in full victim mode and doing it very well.
Her friend’s boyfriend (a part-time ‘special’ constable) said I had to leave. I calmly explained I was there to find out why I got the text that afternoon and to sort things out. I said I had no intention of leaving, as my children had been abused. Next thing I know, he swiftly put my arm up my back, as police officers do, and I’m unable to move. His girlfriend called the proper police, obviously believing I’m the aggressor.
The police soon arrived. They could see I was a concerned father, wanting to get to the bottom of the horrible text message I received. Yet, they believed her, and told me to leave. The next day, she texted saying the police installed alarms within the property and that I must keep away!
One week or so later, my mother was due to collect the children for an access visit with me. I had no intention of going to my ex’s after the police visit. I asked my mother to tell her that I’d had all I could take and I wanted a divorce. After hearing that I wanted a divorce, my ex cried to her mother (who was also there), saying, ‘But I love him!!!’
The next week, I received a text asking me if I would meet her at my dead father’s now empty mobile home. She claimed she wanted to talk about kid access arrangements and that she had something she needed to tell me face to face. I agreed, and went to meet her.
When she arrived, I asked what she wanted to discuss. She never once mentioned the children. Instead she told me she was ‘seeing someone.’ I replied, ‘Ok, good for you. Now have you anything to say about child access?’ She persisted, ‘A (ex-husband) is fuming as D is his best friend (new boyfriend).’ She even smirked as she was saying it.
I said nothing. As I was about to leave, she pulled a brand new expensive phone from her bag, not to use, but to show it off to me ‘That’s nice,’ I said . ‘Yeah, it’s a present.’ ‘Nice,’ I said and turned to leave. Then she said, ‘You scare me, Matt. I’m taking out an injunction (non-molestation order) against you.’ Thinking she was trying to be funny, I laughed and said, ‘It’s me that needs protection from you!’ I’d heard enough and left, not paying any attention to her comments, as there were no grounds, or indeed, evidence.
Four days later, I was at home when someone began banging very loudly on my front door. I looked down from an upstairs window and saw a huge body builder type guy pounding on my door. He saw me, too.
‘I can fucking see you up there with a white shirt on, come down and open the fucking door.’ Of course, I had no idea who this guy was and stayed put. He put something through my letterbox and left. To my shock and surprise, it was an affidavit with pages and pages of alleged domestic violence, carried out by me! It was painful to read. No wonder the guy delivering was so aggressive. My ex had made me look like Attilla the Hun!
It was surreal. Here I was reading about scores and scores of alleged abuse, when in fact, she was the abuser. I was in shock. If I was such a dangerous and violent abuser, then why meet me in an isolated place (my dead father’s mobile home) to tell me she has a new boyfriend???? Huh? Am I missing something???
Her defence to that was, ‘I had 999 ready to dial on my phone, so if you attacked me, I could call the police.’ Crazy, just totally and all consumingly nuts. I went though months of hell for that, not seeing my children, and being subjected to further abuse from her, using Facebook.
She coerced friends of mine to come over to her house one Saturday for a BBQ. She then got a friend to photograph her with my friends and her new boyfriend, cuddling him and looking so happy happy. She published these photos on Facebook, along with more abusive pictures over the following weeks. Pictures of her new boyfriend holding our son in his arms with a feeding bottle, him standing over my son as he takes his first crawl, and other photos designed to hurt as much as possible.
By this time, I had a lawyer to get access back to my children. I printed the Facebook filth to show her. She said it looked like my ex was trying to get me to break the terms of the injunction, but, of course, I could already see that. I didn’t take the bait and stayed out of her way, no texts, nothing, no contact whatsoever. Just one text, or email and I could’ve been arrested.
In His Own Words is a joint effort between DAHMW, Shrink4Men and AVoiceForMen to help raise awareness about the invisible victims of domestic violence, men. If you would like to submit your story, please follow the guidelines at the end of this article.
DAHMW (Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men and Women)
If you are in an abusive relationship and don’t know what to do or where to turn, DAHMW provides a 24-hour free helpline (+1 888 HELPLINE ).
Shrink4Men Counseling, Coaching and Consulting Services
Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD provides confidential, fee-for-service, counseling, consultation and coaching services to help both men and women work through their relationship issues via telephone and/or Skype chat. Her practice combines practical advice, support, reality testing and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Shrink4Men Services page for professional inquiries.