Jim
Sunday, May 30, 2010
One in Three Campaign

My wife is angry at me again (it’s the third time this week, this is a bad week). She doesn’t usually hit me, usually it’s just screaming and slammed doors and throwing things, but this time she starts hitting me.

I think through my options.

1. I could punch her, I am stronger than she is, but last week she said

“I’ll take the children and go to a shelter,

I’ll tell them that you are violent,

Then you’ll never see your children again

And you’ll lose your job.”

What chance would I have of convincing the people at a shelter that my wife is the violent one?

And what would I be teaching my son if I hit her?

2. I could yell back at her, but I don’t want to be like that and besides it just makes her angrier and makes it last longer.

3. I could move out, but then who would protect our children?

4. I could take the children, but where would I go. Men aren’t allowed near shelters, and who would take care of the children while I am at work?

5. I raise my arm to protect my face but her fist hits my forearm and she yells that I am hurting her.

6. My children can hear what’s going on, in fact the neighbours can probably hear too.

I decide she probably can’t really hurt me, so I get in a foetal position on the bed and cover my face with my arms. She swings her arms like a windmill hitting me over and over. It only hurts a little bit, but she is screaming. She screams that she hates me; she hopes I go to hell. Eventually she gets tired of hitting me and stomps out of the room.

She is still angry and won’t talk to me for the next two days.

Every morning I go walking with my best friend. The next day my stomach is still “jumping” inside me. Things have been getting worse and worse for the last 15 years. I decide I am going to tell him about last night. This is one of the hardest things I have ever done. Men are supposed to be able to take care of themselves and I’m letting a girl hit me. I feel so ashamed. What will he think of me? I finally get the words out. He doesn’t know anyone whose wife hits them, I don’t either. Maybe they never tell anyone just like I haven’t for the last 15 years. I haven’t even told my parents or my brothers and sisters what’s going on.

Every Christmas, Father’s Day and Birthday she gives me these cards that say what a wonderful husband I am, and how much she loves me. But the cards make me feel sick because she has these angry outburst once or twice a week when she says she hates me and hopes I go to hell. She says it’s my fault that she gets angry. If I behaved she wouldn’t have to get angry at me or the kids. She comes home late from work so I cook tea, but I never know what she wants, it’s always changing. The other day she threw the tea in the bin. I made a list of the things she doesn’t want for tea, it’s up to 20 now, but then she orders the things on the list when we go out for tea. So this is not really about what “makes her feel sick”, it’s about control.

The kids can’t bring their friends home, because they don’t know what kind of mood mum will be in.

I put petrol in the car on “cheap Wednesday” but there were insufficient funds in the debit card, and the first credit card bounced. Thankfully there was enough money in the second credit card. When I told my wife she said “Well fill up on pay day!” She says she needs to have her hair streaked for work, but there no money for the kids clothes or food. I buy my clothes at the op shop, and get food at a food bank. I am afraid we won’t be able to make our house repayments. Between us we make $90,000, where is all the money going? I don’t have access to the accounts on line because she says I can’t handle money.

We only have sex every couple of months. I feel like “I’m climbing the walls”. When we do have sex it’s usually because I have agree to buy something I know we can’t afford. I feel like I have sold my soul.

In the middle of sexual intercourse she say “That’s it, you’re done! Get out of me! You’re hurting me! Get off’a me!” I don’t know what I’ve done, it could be any minor infraction. I am so worried about it happening that I lose my erection.

I am waking up with nightmares that she is a female Red Back Spider (Black Widow), and I am the male. The female kills the male during sex. Now I am having this nightmare during sex. I have decided sex is not worth it with her.

Lately I have started looking at pornography on the net. It’s the only safe sex I’m getting, but now I feel dirty. They shake hands at church during the service, and I think they wouldn’t want to shake my hand if they knew what I was doing.

She’s on lots of committees at church, she likes to be close to the pastor. She constantly points out other men at church who earn more than I do, or have newer cars or bigger houses, she asks why aren’t I like them. When we are talking to our friends at church she puts me down. I try to laugh it off, but it hurts. And nobody says “You shouldn’t talk about your husband like that.” I hardly feel like going any more. She says she’s the spiritual one.

I promised to be true good times and bad. This must be the bad times. Sometimes I wish I were dead, how bad could hell be? But who would protect the kids.

I see these commercials on TV; they say that violence against women is bad. Why isn’t violence against children or men bad? What is this doing to my children? Will my daughter be violent to her husband? Will my son be the victim of a violent woman? Why isn’t domestic violence bad no matter who is doing it? Sure she hasn’t broken any bones, but it still hurts. I must deserve this; maybe God is punishing me for something I did wrong? I feel so confused.

End of the story.

Five years after this incident, I saw a psychiatrist; she helped me see that this was “not a marriage”. My youngest daughter was 16 so I knew she could stay with me. I went to the bank and asked them to show me how to open an account in my own name, and how to transfer money on the internet. I made a fair budget where we each had to pay according to our income. I deposited my pay cheque into my own account. My wife said she hated me and was getting a divorce, and I said fine, and moved out of the master bedroom.

I was lucky; my children were old enough to be able to protect me when she said I was violent to her.

Article originally appeared on One in Three Campaign (http://www.oneinthree.com.au/).
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