Ellie
Sunday, November 2, 2014
One in Three Campaign

My story may not be appropriate given the context of this site and I'm sorry if this offends or upsets anybody.

My name is Ellie and I used to hit my husband. A lot.

The best quote I ever heard about anger was: "anger is an emotion for those who want to control others while simultaneously failing to control themselves", it's so true. I would get SO ANGRY every time something didn't go my way and I would lash out. I would shove, slap, punch, scream and bite. I would lose all control and become an unstable, frothing at the mouth, crazy woman and I would unleash my rage on my poor husband. Usually for some 'horrible' crime as forgetting something at the supermarket or not responding to a question in a way that pleased me.

I always found a way to justify it, "well if he would just LISTEN to me then I wouldn't get angry", I managed to convince myself that I was really the victim... he 'ignored' me and I was really the hurt party, why didn't he pay enough attention to the things I said? Why did he have to make me angry?

Every so often he would fight back, but mostly it was just me wailing on him until he escaped or I calmed down.

There were a few times I threatened him with a knife... I didn't mean it, I was just being a bully, but he did not know that and the look of genuine fear in his eyes will haunt me forever.

It's a horrible double standard... the few times he ever struck me at all were completely out of self defence and were not intended to cause harm, merely to put distance between us so that he could protect himself. Yet I know, had I called the police, he would have been charged.

Owning up to this kind of thing is not… easy. It was very difficult for me to realise this in and of myself and in all honesty I think I realised how wrong it was before he did, because more than just physically harming him... I had managed to convince him it was all his fault.

If he ever tried to leave I would threaten to harm myself and he would be too afraid, he cares about me and would not want to see me hurt.

I am prone to introspection and self reflection and yet it took me years to realise that I had become a monster, because I didn't want to admit it to myself, I didn't want to admit it to anyone.

I did admit it to myself and then I admitted it to him, out loud. I apologised and although the words felt... pathetic to me, how can you say 'sorry' for years of abuse... my husband genuinely appreciated them.

We are still together and I have not hit him since. We still argue sometimes, as people do. But I almost never yell, I never hurl insults and I never throw punches. Once I admitted it and apologised for it and genuinely realised what I had become… I knew I had to change and never go back.

I am a strong believer in equality for men and women of all races and sexual preferences and the stories I have read on this site just break my heart and I am not afraid to admit that they bring me to tears, because their stories are so raw and also because I contributed to the abuse.

As I said, maybe my story isn't appropriate but I felt compelled to admit it in a possibly public way because most women I meet seem to think slapping a man is somehow… empowering, as though the women who fought for us would be proud of them getting sassy and slapping a man. I have met women who outright and out-loud believe that a woman hitting a man is OK and a man hitting a woman is wrong.

I believe that all violence is wrong and should my story of shame give a violent woman hesitation or a beaten man a shred of realisation then that is one step further for me and for them.

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