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Fred's personal story

Where do I start?............ My story begins as a child, observing, witnessing and occasionally interjecting as my parents fought, argued and abused each other over money, jobs, family, friends and beliefs, all whilst the "family" was shipped around the country.

My father's self-destructing behaviour saw him dragged away by police in front of us and imprisoned on fraud changes on at least two occasions. My mother fought hard to hold the family together, often living below the poverty line, whilst fighting her own demons of abusive and alcoholic parents. Her "Faith" as a Roman Catholic seemed to be her saving grace, though was also one of the catalysts for her on-going acceptance and endurance of her (and her children's) traumatic existence and unstable life and marriage.

As an adolescent, I vowed that I would not end up in a violent relationship such as my parents and that I would find my Life-partner and Best Friend, marry her, and travel life's journey as each other's champion. I have always been a lover, rather than a fighter.

The pact I made seemed to come to fruition, as I met "the girl of my dreams" as a teenager. We dated through high school and I was going to marry her! But, for many reasons, we chose to have a break for a short time. We never got back together. I dated different girls over the following years, until I met my wife 25 years ago.

From the beginning, there were signs of abusive and unwarranted behaviour from my her. My friends (and family) warned me that all was not right in our relationship, but, as an "all knowing and stubborn" young man, I knew better. Even on the day of our wedding, my mother asked me, "Are you sure?".......... right then I knew the answer, but did not have the heart or courage to answer her honestly, or myself....

FEAR, and a lack of confidence and self-worth, have controlled my life and been the determining factor in many decisions, and my relationship with my wife and marriage are living proof of this. The abuse started as random outbursts, and seemed to coincide with her monthly cycle, so I waved off the emotional and irrational behaviour and verbal abuse as "that time of the month".

I should have left the relationship the first time she slapped me, in front of our friends inside a nightclub, all because I told her that I was going out with my mates the following night. I was shocked and hurt, but defended her actions. Or when her father slapped me in the face because I asked for her parent's permission to go on a Pacific Holiday with her when we were 20. The signs were there, but I did not have the courage to leave, and I had been conditioned from my childhood experiences that you forgive and forget.

So today, 25 years later, we have three beautiful children, who are being taught what a relationship is, what a marriage represents, how to relate and communicate with others, and that verbal and emotional abuse and putdowns are all part of life.................. shame on me!!!! I have contributed to the on-going cycle that I was subject to as a child. I am passing on the baton of abuse and I am contributing to my children's blue-print of life and relationships, and I do not have the courage the break it!

Right now, as I write, I feel an over-whelming guilt and sense of helplessness. I know my relationship is wrong, I know that things need to change, but I cannot find the line...... the line that gets crossed that finally makes you say "enough is enough!"

I am not perfect. I have made mistakes, but I have looked for answers. I have tried to ignore the attacks, I have defended myself (both verbally and physically), I have turned my back on family, friends and work colleagues, anything to try and stem the on-going trauma. I have slept more nights in either my car or on the couch than my own bed. I have been to counsellors and professionals, the police have been to our house. I have contemplated suicide on more than one occasion, and I have wished and prayed that one or both of us would have a fatal accident and die, just to find sanctuary and peace.

On the outside, I am this fun-loving, caring happy-go-lucky guy that loves people and life........... but every night when I turn into my street and approach my house, a sense of depression and helplessness surfaces. My guard is up, and the unknown conflict inside the house is about to be revealed. The ridiculous thing about all of this is that I do care about my wife, that we do have an active sex life, that I do not want to hurt her and that I worry about why she is the way she is, and why she is so sad within herself? And what have I done so wrong to her to make her act the way she does? What have our children done to deserve the life they have at home? ........... The answer is?

I do not make my wife abusive and unstable, she does! Yes, I contribute to the situation, but I do not control her. Unfortunately, she does not control herself either. I have fought the symptom for years, but have not addressed the illness, or discovered the cure. I know this and write this, but how do I address it? For my sake, my children's sake, and for my wife's sake?

Something needs to change, and there lies my issue, it will take action.........but I am scared. Overcome my fear, and I begin to break the cycle. It sounds easy from the outside, but if you are reading this, you know it does not come easily. And I, like you all, have something to fight for......... some peace, some resolution, and our families.

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