Cameron's personal story
Thursday, February 2, 2017
One in Three Campaign

I was married for over 10 years. We had our first child and I noticed that as a couple we started to disagree over things more and more. I passed it off as nothing more than small domestic quarrels that any couple would have. The quarrels became worse. I sought the help from a psychologist to try and understand what I could do to improve our situation. I was advised to stand up for myself and make a stand against my wife if I thought she was being unreasonable. I definitely had to take a stand against her abuse and was told that even in marriage I did not have to tolerate being spoken to like this. I did this and things improved slightly. We had a second child a few years later. Things really escalated one night when I came home from work to the sounds of screaming. I found my 4 year old son lying prone on the bathroom floor crying and holding his arm. When I asked what had happened, my wife responded “well he wet his pants didn't he”. I asked if she had hit him. She replied 'well he has to learn that it's wrong doesn't he". She was standing over him and shouting at him how bad he had been. I asked her to get away from him. She did and she calmed down but our relationship worsened from this day.

I attempted to get her help but after only two sessions with the psychologist my wife became argumentative with the psychologist and refused all recommended ongoing treatment. After this I sunk into my own institutional depressive state. I didn't know what to do as the power and control my wife was exerting over my children and myself became obsessive. I had a great relationship with my son but my young daughter was alienated from me within our own marriage. It was a living hell. I was not even allowed to take my daughter out to the shops on my own. My wife would come up with every excuse possible as to why our daughter could not leave the house.

I wanted out of the marriage and my lawyer suggested I take the children and leave. The problem was there was nowhere to go. All the domestic violence support services were setup for women and as a man there was little they could do for my situation. I had to stay in this terrible marriage until I could afford to leave, so that was my plan.

In the lead up to me leaving the marriage, I moved into the spare bedroom and became separated under the one roof. This is where the domestic violence really became frightening. My wife would come past my door at night and kick and scream through the door. One night she whispered under the door that I had better watch my back and that her father in law would be called to come and sort me out. This situation was crazy. I look back in disbelief that I didn't get out sooner.

I eventually left the marriage and moved into a rented house. Through mediation my now very bitter ex refused to allow the children to come and spend time with me. The whole essence of me leaving this controlling narcissistic woman was to have my kids in a shared care arrangement where they could be safe (at least half the time) and free from the hostility of an environment where their parents were in a toxic relationship. So we ended up in court where I was awarded a shared care arrangement.

My ex wife has never accepted the judges decision. Whilst she generally complies with the orders and the shared care arrangements, she still denies that her actions were wrong and still to this day tries controlling and power exertion techniques over me and my children. There is little more I can do unless she breaks the law or the consent orders. I live only with the hope that she will leave me alone, leave my kids alone or the law changes whereby psychological abuse and threatening behaviour by a female perpetrator is more widely acknowledged and acted on through the court process.

My advice to anyone experiencing the same sort of abuse. Get out. Leave as soon as you can. No-one has the right to treat you this way, not even your closest partner. Kids need healthy happy parents and if you are in a toxic relationship and that is witnessed by your children, then they are being harmed. For your sake and their sake, leave. Life is too short.

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