Tim's personal story
Saturday, December 12, 2015
One in Three Campaign

I met my partner 20 years ago. And over the course of those years, I've watched her take every bit of self esteem I ever had. The constant verbal, emotional and financial abuse was 24/7. Complaining about how I'm dressed, drive, interact with people, every aspect of our relationship was controlled by my partner, to manipulate and destroy my confidence.

We had recently moved interstate, for a new life, with me moving first, and four days later my partner met up with me. Those four days without her, had changed me from a empty shell, to someone who was happy with confidence. When my partner met up with me she made the statement I had changed to someone she didn't like. The only thing I noticed about myself is that I was happy. So my partner turned up the negativity, the “put me downs” and returned me back into that empty shell. That's when I realised I was a victim of domestic violence.

Now I'm waiting for her to visit her relatives interstate next month before I make a dash for freedom. In the meantime it's holding a poker face so she doesn't sense something is up. Because I'm now scared that she will drive me to self harm. The one thing I've learnt about been a victim is that domestic violence creeps up on you, without you being aware. The control of your earnings where your partner is buying you a tin of fish for your sandwich for work only to find out the tin of fish was two years past the expiry date. It was bought for you because it was cheapest. Where your combined earnings was over $75,000, but you haven't got a cent in the bank. Or your self confidence has been stripped away from you that operating a BBQ is near impossible. Or you're working three jobs to pay off a $20,000 credit card debt, that you have no idea how the debt got so high, only to be told by your partner that you're lazy, and you should work harder.

To have no enjoyment of money is even harder, to having every cent scrutinised and not allowed to have, but yet you still go to work with no enjoyment from the fruits of your labour. And the worst is every friend you have is pushed away from you. The hobbies taken away from you because you're not making your partner the centre of the world. To live in fear, because you don't know what mood your partner is going to be in when she gets home from work. Or when your mum passes away, being asked if any money has been left to you, within days of her death.

Yes, men being victims of domestic violence is very real, and I pray society starts to address this. Meanwhile I hope I can make my escape soon. To leave her now would be too dangerous, because of my vulnerability.

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