TELL YOUR STORY

If you are a male victim of family violence - domestic violence, violence from other family members, child abuse, elder abuse, sexual assault, or other forms of family violence and abuse - this page is available for you to tell your anonymous story. Please click here to tell your own story. If you feel like you need support, please click here. Stories are moderated to prevent the posting of spam, so it might take a little while for your story to appear on this page.

PERSONAL STORIES FROM MALE VICTIMS OF FAMILY VIOLENCE AND ABUSE

Sunday
Jun232019

Colin's personal story

I first met my abuser when I was restoring my car, she was best friends to my sister. Overtime and with guidance from my mother saying I should take her out to buy her some new shoes we did start dating but she insisted on a chaperone which was quite often my sister and her boyfriend. We had only been dating a few weeks when my sister woke me up and said she didn't want to go out with me anymore because she was a rape victim and knew I would want more one day then a simple kiss on the cheek. I had the opportunity then to walk away and avoid the life changing nightmare I have now but I was young and full of empathy not knowing about rape or the effects of rape on someone.

We met up had a chat and resumed the relationship but I had to promise to keep the secret of prolonged rape as it was a family member and to make things worse her mother put her child into the situation of being raped with a known child abuser. Overtime at family functions I got to meet with the perpetrators the Uncle and Uncles brother then two brothers that were her mothers friend sons. There were others like a neighbour that she became friends with to watch football on TV. Instead of going to school she was quite often bunk off to be with friends drinking. She said to me that her friends in school would often talk about their boyfriends and kissing. My abuser would think "if only they knew I had done much more than that." My abuser said that when she stayed at her uncle's house which she eventually lived at she would often pretend to be asleep so the uncle would then turn to his daughter to perform sexual acts with his brother.

Although my abuser had been groomed to say nothing, I too was groomed to say nothing. My abuser would have secret meetings with her uncle while we were dating but I was told only watch him masturbate. She even started a sexual relationship with her uncle's daughter.

As she got older she began to understand that what she went through as a child was abnormal and wrong and I quite often said to her on a regular basis to tell her mother. What she didn't understand was that she was suffering from Stockholm Syndrome that we later discovered at a rape crisis centre here in Australia.

Drinking played a major part in my abuser's life starting off with cider then on to babycham onto flavoured alcoholic drinks then to spirits like vodka and the last the triple strength distilled vodka. I was never a drinker but my abuser soon taught me over the years as I unknowingly become the enabler.

I started to suffer from financial abuse as my abuser with no qualifications didn't want to work in fear that she would be recognised as a rape victim so finances were tight bringing up a family. We had two boys. The second boy I still today question whether he was mine. The third child was aborted. My abuser was not too happy telling me she was pregnant and it was a shock to me as sex was very far and few between by then. We never spoke about that again.

As her addiction to alcohol become out of control and our home become an open house to other drinkers the violence escalated as I became more mentally impaired. Holding the secret of rape was now affecting both of us.

I was assaulted and put into hospital for many months nearly losing my eye had a broken eye socket and nose and had to on the go reconstructive surgery, the effects I still live with today. In hospital I told a doctor of what was happening at home in the hope that he would get someone to help me but that never happened. My abuser was in fear that I would now tell someone.

My sons witnessed things they shouldn't have living with two dysfunctional parents as they too become alcoholics in later life.

During the relationship we were all denied medical attention in some way or another. My abuser in fear that I would speak out so I learnt how to become my own dentist adapting tools in the shed to pull out my own teeth, the broken roots still in place today, still in fear to go to a dentist for help.

While at rape counselling here in Australia I had been diagnosed as the second rape victim in the relationship something my abuser hated as now my mental health condition and the effects of living With a rape victim was now documented. My abuser was given tasks to work on and a letter was drafted to send to her mother in the UK but it was never sent. She had to explain to her mother the truth of why our relationship was so dysfunctional and that was never going to happen.

I was hoping that rape counselling would finally put an end to domestic violence at home but in fact it got worse as I had become a regular fighter now against blame transfer that really was the basis of our relationship. Trying to get out of this dysfunctional relationship was a nightmare. The relationship by now involved so many people that had been told so many lies to cover the truth of her childhood rape. My mental health affected my job to the point I could no longer work. The police become regulars at my home. I even went to the police station asking for help but this was denied. My doctor suggested I contact mental health which I did but they could not help me as my abuser had rights due to a recent change in the mental health act, so I was alone. They did say I could ask for a section 5 with police escort but only to contact them when I was being attacked as they had to witness the attack. Do you know how hard it is to make a phone call for help while you're being attacked?! The phone was the first thing to go by my abuser. In pure desperation I would phone mental health many times asking for help, each time being refused, so the question is (and something I often pondered), where do I go for help?

To cut a long story short I started to attend Al Anon meetings for those affected by someone's drinking and the sister group AA. I found 2 great sponsors that sometimes witnessed what was going on at home, as did my friends that walked in while I was being attacked. I would attend up to 5 meetings a week telling my story and learning the Twelve steps in recovery and how to detach from my abuser. I was beginning to recover.

My abuser could see that I was changing as I began to openly speak about what was happening at home behind those closed doors. During the attacks I stopped trying to defend myself and let her do what she needed to do in her pure frustration that I was no longer becoming the enabler. Broken windows remain broken. A broken car would remain broken. Unpaid debts become prolonged unpaid debts.

She did eventually get a job purely to sustain her addiction to alcohol.

On the last night that we were to remain together in dysfunction, my abuser organised with two of her friends to come around and beat me up but I called the police that turned up the same time her friends did. My abuser a drunk and on advice from the police was asked to leave with her friends and the police advised me to go to court the next morning to get a interim intervention order, which I did. In front of the judge I stood there while he read my statement asking me questions until he said that my interim intervention order was granted. I broke down in tears. Years of abuse had a major impact on my life and I was overwhelmed. The judge asked me why I was crying. I replied I was in fear you wouldn't believe me.

There was a court case about 6 months later during that time I had to find documented evidence of domestic violence which was hard but in the end I produced quite a lot including evidence from my doctor. videos, photos, financial abuse, stat decs from friends, even the knife she used.

In court she got a 10 year no contact DVO.

The police even took a statement from me, but that was to take 2 more years. Warrants for her arrest were issued but she had already returned to the UK. Those warrants so badly needed during the court case that caused me so much financial losses.

I've had dealings with family law and as a victim of prolonged domestic violence family law fails dramatically. I lost my home that I worked hard for. Even though I managed to get my ex abuser financial reward, I became homeless, have no job, and with little savings me and my three dogs now live in my car. We travel the country now. Sometimes we get moved on by the police and they know I'm homeless as it's on their computer.

I did see a neuropsychologist who was recommended by victims of crime and over time talking I was diagnosed with C PTSD. My health is failing - a heart condition a gift from my abuser.

I have spoken at a Stop Domestic Violence conference in Melbourne about my dealings with the police trying to get help and the failings of the mental health system that allowed my abuser to continue to practice her arts of abuse. I was in the newspapers and I was asked to write a chapter in a book with other survivors of domestic violence that has now been published and I have recently helped other survivors to write their stories for the next book.

I'm in recovery now and one day I hope to recover from what I witnessed living with a dysfunctional partner with past unaddressed trauma. I try to help other men and women that have come out of a domestic violent relationships in confusion by telling them my story - a link that only we understand.

So, if you see a man with his dogs by the beach in ponder, or by the side of the road having a rest, stop and say Hi. I'll have the kettle on ready waiting for you and I always have chocolate biscuits tucked away under my front seat.

Well its time for me to go now. There's a mountain range in the far distance that needs exploring, and I do like taking photos documenting my journey in recovery.

Friday
Jun212019

Lucky Man's personal story

My partner and I at her 30th birthday when an argument broke out between herself and her sister. When I went over to try and resolve it, she hit me in the face. My mother was nearby and she heard the hit. In the morning she apologised and I gave her benefit of the doubt and forgave her; “she was drunk she didn’t mean it” I said to myself. My mother supported my decision but she was understandably profoundly upset at the fact someone had hit her son.

A few months later it happened again. This time we were both out at the pub. Security removed her for being too intoxicated and when I as told this I went outside to take her home. With help from other patrons I put her in a taxi. When the taxi got home, I had to try get her inside myself. She was very intoxicated and I was drunk myself it wasn’t going to be easy. When I tried to pick her up off the back seat of the taxi she punched me in the face. I managed to pick her up still to take her inside, but when we got o the front path we tripped over each other’s legs and fell. When I tried to help her up she spat on me. Taken back but still determined, I managed to pick her up still and I sat her on the verandah. I asked for the front door keys she refused to give them to me and she punched again this cutting my lip. I decided to film what she was doing I caught a 13 second video of her standing up and spitting at me again. I gave up trying to get the keys I was mad now and just wanted to get inside. I went around the back of the house and broke in. Right about that moment it all overcame me and I just slumped to the ground and cried. I’d not felt that degraded since my previous relationship (id previously been victim to psychological abuse at the hands of another woman, which resulted in me almost losing my life and being diagnosed with PTSD); I just felt darkness I sat there in a trance. Eventually she let herself I. with the keys, pushed passed me, vomited in the bathroom, walked over me where I was sitting and went to sleep. The only thing she said to me in the morning was that I could’ve “closed the door” as I left. I was determine to leave her for this as I had left my previous partner…but I went back. By this stage we were engaged and I felt I was too far committed to her…this was a terrible decision on my part.

The third and final time she hit me was again after a night out. Not as lengthy as the second time, she lost her phone and when I found it and handed it to her (admittedly with some attitude, I knew it was in the house she wasn’t listening) she hit me across the head and threw her s Gaga ring across the house…then demanded it back when I sent and got it. “For fuck sake” was her response when I told her what she had done whilst she was drunk the night before.

The relationship eventually ended. She had reunited a friendship with my previous partner (yes the one that had psychologically abused me, we’re from a town where everyone knows everyone) and this eventually lead to her putting me out of my misery and ending it. Ultimately I dodged a bullet they were both finally out of my life.

Looking back I’ll admit I was far from perfect. I was a heavy drinker too and she’d started talking to my ex I’d even messaged an ex of mine to see how she’d like it; it was petty. I acted out of vindictiveness, she and I had grown close in the first place because she was my main ear to lend about the very same ex she’d ended up being friends with again. Obviously there was red flags everywhere I wish I had noticed them.

But nothing I did nothing to deserve being hit and spat on. Obviously her friends had all rallied around her, bought her flowers told me it was my fault for being hit by her because I didn’t leave. I was told I was playing the victim. Made excuses that she had been drunk when she did what she did. Imagine if these things were said to a female victim of abuse by a male? I thought they were my friends too but I learned non of them ever were.

The police dropped the ball when I went to ask for advice as to how to collect some things I had at my house, and explained what happened to me the officers response was “so mate what did you do you must of did something?” I asked to speak with another officer and he was a nice bloke he helped me properly.

After it all ended I got a worse for a period, was a heavy drinker myself, was angry and even got into a physical altercation. But eventually I moved to the city and started over.

I’m not engaged to a wonderful girl we are very much in love, she’s heard all about my story and supports me. It’s also been about 600 days since I’ve woken up with a hangover. Instead of being angry about what was done to me I took ownership of things I wasn’t doing right. I now tell my story to help other men who have been abused, men with PTSD and men who have tried to take their lives.

Onwards and upwards. I’m a lucky guy.

Monday
Jun032019

Jay's personal story

I am both an abuser and abused. I am an abuser because I shout at my wife. This happens regularly – out of frustration that I am called names, put down, told that every time I speak I am speaking bullsh** and lying.

It happens because my wife will ask me a question, I will attempt to answer and she will cut me off, again telling me I am lying or that I am wrong (because I don't agree with her perspective) so I get frustrated and angry.

It happens because I am tired of being called "damaged goods" (I was sexually, physically and mentally abused by my mother when I was a child), am tired of being called a dumb c**t, stupid f**k, an idiot, lazy, useless, incompetent and hopeless, and generally a waste of space.

I am an abuser because I "control" my wife by cooking meals, doing the weekly shopping, driving the car while she is in it and because, even though she has over a third of my take-home pay put directly into her bank account every fortnight, I won't give her control over my debit card as she sees fit.

I have even been told that she is "in command" and in control so I should seek her permission to fold "her" towels and sheets, to move her washing and even to fill the car with petrol.

I am dirty, messy, untidy, disorganised, and would be happy living in a pigsty. I am so filthy that I have to wash my hands thoroughly and change my clothes when I come home from work every night. I work in a professional position in a very clean environment. I am abused because I feel worthless, lack confidence in completing even basic tasks because I never quite get it right, I am not allowed to pat or feed our dog without permission. I have been allocated my own area of the house, and all of my things have been moved there. I am not allowed to even look into “her area” but she is able to take my things, rearrange them, move them or even throw them out if she desires.

I have done a lot in the past of which I am not proud – including forming friendships online (but never meeting or indulging in innuendo or sexual flirtations) and having an affair when we were separated for several months almost 15 years ago. These indiscretions came about because my wife would not let me touch her, withdrawing physically and emotionally for months or even years at a time. She would also spend long periods of time interstate looking after family members, leaving me to work full time and look after children. Being lonely is not an excuse, but it is an explanation.

I have not always been the perfect father or husband but I do my best. I rarely drink, I don't smoke and I don't gamble. I rarely go out unless to work or a family function, and very rarely spend money on myself.

I am abusive because my wife tells me I am. I am a victim of abuse for the same reason. I hate living.

Friday
May312019

Chris' personal story

My family is one of those ‘out of the ordinary’ families when it comes to domestic violence. For years growing up during childhood, whilst Dad would be at work, my mother would mentally and physically abuse my sister and I. She always wanted to get rid of Dad because she didn't see him as someone to show off to people. I put it this way because Mum uses inanimate objects and her own living breathing family members as nothing but status icons. Mum would occasionally attack someone and get police involved and would attempt to manipulate or coerce my sister and I into falsifying statements or lie to people in order to get Dad into trouble.

As years passed and my sister and I became teenagers and later transitioned into young adulthood, things began to escalate. One night my mother chucked dad's work bag at my face and put a hole in the wall behind me as his bottle missed my head. I phoned the police and they made the situation much worse. Despite calling them and showing where and how I was attacked, including my facial injuries, they did nothing. Instead my mother told them that my Dad attacked her and they took him to the station for questioning and made an IVO for my mother against him. He couldn't return home that night and slept at a petrol station. On another occasion I chose to leave with my Dad and slept in the trunk of our car just to get away from my mum. It was my fault as I got attacked by my Mum and called police. A Sergeant from the Police told me, “you're a 20yr old male, I doubt your mother could attack you, grow the f### up son”.

That's just one prime example of how male victims are treated and goes to show how dodgy the police can be. Men beware, when you're a victim of domestic violence, don't rely on the police. They'll just turn around and slap you, your son, your brother or your father with an IVO for no reason and they may also not be allowed to return home. But it doesn't end there. My mother is a narcissist, anything that goes wrong or anything she does wrong, she'd go into denial mode or blame the nearest person, causing heated arguments. Eventually after her constant physical attacks, my sister and I took IVOs out against her and the police and Crisis Assessment Team locked her up in a psych ward for a while. Dad being dad, loving Mum too much despite all the wrong she's done to him and their own children, convinced us to remove our IVOs. I still remember that day. My sister and I had a massive argument with him in the Magistrates Court and all the way back home. Even the Magistrate and police warned him not to take this path…

Fast forward to 2019. After allowing our mother to breach our orders (we failed to remove them) and return to our lives, the trouble began again. She put up this remorseful facade towards Dad but she wasn't fooling me or my sister. Skip to February, I was enjoying another 35+ degree scorcher in the pool. My mother was screaming like a banshee, verbally abusing my Dad and sister (she was angry why I asked her to help me pay my house bills as everyone helped me but her). Things escalated when I heard loud bangs and my sister screaming for help, so I bolted inside, almost slipping on the floorboards as I was soaking wet. My sister was struck in the head and hunched over clutching her face, crying hysterically. My mother was kneeling and filming my sister, breathing heavily looking like she had done something exhausting. My Dad came and helped them both off the floor whilst I stood there in shock.

My sister phoned police and an ambulance. I stood in the hallway talking to my Dad in the kitchen wondering what just happened. My mother came barging out from the master bedroom and yelled to me and my dad, trying to convince us that my sister bashed her, even though I clearly saw the climax. She shoved her phone in my face filming me and I smacked it out of her hand and told her not to touch my sister again. She picked up her phone and started yelling at my Dad saying that I punched her in the eye (even though he was right in-front of me). She then ran into the bathroom and phoned police as well. Later, police and paramedics arrived and assessed my sister's facial injuries. They worked on getting my mother out of the house and send her to the hospital for a psychiatric assessment. One of the female Senior Constables told us that if she was to get another call out to my address, she'd issue everyone with a safety notice. She refused to have my mother charged for assaulting my sister and instead told me off over slapping the phone out of her hand. She also said (as I assumed) that my mother's video didn't really show anything worth needing any action to be taken so they all left my house.

One day later, my mother came to my house in the company of two police officers and got her clothes and electronics. She claimed she needed some time apart to cool off and the officers assured us that nothing dodgy was going on, when Dad asked them if they're not letting her stay with us and questioned what was going on. We never saw my Mum again for almost an entire month. I even phoned up the Melton police station and asked about any reported incidents as I had a hunch that she was up to no good again. They denied it so life continued as normal…

…Until February 26th. I was watching Game of Thrones that evening and I heard an aggressive knock on the door. It was two officers from the local police station. They served me, my Dad and sister with IVOs on mum's behalf and told us that although she didn't live in my house and that we could stay put (apparently we weren't allowed to stay in my house) we would need to leave if she was to show up. This news hit us hard. I attempted my first suicide that night and lost EVERYTHING.

To this day, as I type this story out, things have only got worse and we're still waiting for our court date in October. My sister, Dad and I were made homeless over my mother's fake IVOs. Even though the police knew what happened that day, they allowed my mother to commit perjury and fabricate the facts of the February incident a month later and somehow had a silly Magistrate approve of the IVOs, all without anyone's knowledge that this was even happening behind our backs. The legal system officially stuffed us over. My sister was a victim of my mother's assault and my Dad and I were witnesses and somehow we all became respondents to mum's 3 IVOs. The Magistrate kicked us out of my own home and onto the streets and refused to alter the IVOs on many occasions even though my mother already had housing and support from the various women support agencies. We were left with nothing but the same smelly clothes we were kicked on the street with and that Magistrate had not a care in the world.

Since the serving of the IVOs in February, I attempted suicide multiple times, lost all my belongings and now, my house, as my mother exploited the IVO system, broke into it, changed my locks and started making demands that I sign it onto her. I'm powerless to do anything about it. My Dad also lost his job, my sister never got to complete her VCE and we've all wasted what was left of our savings as my mother took all of our money and started financially controlling us, and the courts don't give a toss, even though our IVOs against her state that she cannot do such a thing. Obviously mothers are granted immunity to IVO conditions and are free to breach them with zero consequences.

2 key points of this story: a. The courts are ruthless and one-sided and will discriminate against men and young adult victims of family violence if the Mum pretends to be the victim b. The police are useless. If you're a male or female victim attempting to get help because of an abusive mother, don't risk it, they'll put your entire family on the street.

This is another example showing just how broken our IVO system is and how easily it can be exploited. Even though I blame my mother for causing all this trouble due to her violent behaviour towards everyone, is it right for me to blame myself too? I cannot forgive myself for destroying my family as I was the one phoning the police every time my mother would assault someone. If I had just kept quiet and put up with her abuse, maybe things would be different today…

Sunday
Apr282019

Sean's personal story

We were married for 13 years. I was in the Navy and she was studying her VCE as an adult student. We were both 20 at the time. We had a great relationship for the first year or so, but then she started to show her violent side. She would kick, punch and scratch. I had ashtrays, plates of food and even dog poo thrown at me. One Sunday morning when we were living in Rockingham, WA, I was cleaning out the shed. She came out and demanded I go into town and buy more Chinese food for her and her cousin, visiting from Victoria. I refused, for two reasons. The Chinese restaurant we went to the previous night was not yet open, and I was filthy from cleaning out the shed. As I bent down to pick up a piece of timber, I felt a thud on my back, which at first I thought was a punch. After a few minutes, the area where she hit me began to sting, so I went inside to look in the mirror with my shirt off. I couldn't get the shirt to come up over my head, and when I looked, I found that she had stabbed me in the back with a fork, which was pinning the shirt to my back. The fork was buried so deep, I had to use as much force as I could to pull it out. It also had a pork & prawn dim sim still attached. I just carried on cleaning outside, and didn't give the stabbing much thought. The next day, I felt sick and went into the Base Hospital to see a Doctor. The doc straight away could tell what had taken place, and said I needed to report it. I refused and begged him to just leave it alone – just treat my injury. He said the fork just missed my spine, and the wound was infected. He cleaned it out, patched it up and I went on my way back to work.

At other times, she would get drunk or stoned on marijuana, and lash out with her nails when I refused to have sex. She would ring me at work and tell me when I got home, the dogs would be dead and cut up because I refused to have sex. I told her many times that it was not right, and she needed help. She overdosed on Valium and Largactil several times, each time ending up in the psych ward at the hospital for weeks. I stayed because I thought she needed me, and we were both in Perth, thousands of kms from our families. The ODs continued, along with the violence.

In 1995, I left the Navy and we moved to Adelaide to be closer to my family. I bought a Jim's Mowing franchise, and I was working 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, earning great money. I left the banking to her, as I was too busy. After a couple of months, I discovered she had been depositing the money into the Pokies, not the bank. When I confronted her, she tried to stab me again, this time with scissors. As the months went by, I became more and more depressed with the combination of running a failing business and coping with being freshly discharged from the strict regimented life in the Navy. By Christmas in 95, I was suicidal, and in the Daw Park Repat Hospital Psych Unit. I was also going bankrupt.

After a year of not working, I finally found a job driving buses. Most of my shifts were afternoon shifts, so I was not normally home for dinner. There were several occasions where she would wait at the stop where I would have my meal break and beg me to just leave the bus where it was and come home because she felt lonely. It made working very difficult. In 1997, after many years of trying, she finally fell pregnant. I thought maybe having a baby would settle her down. 18 weeks into the pregnancy, she began bleeding and went into labour. We lost the baby, and the doctor believed it was due to a weak cervix. This happened again twice more, the second baby again lost at 18 weeks, and the third at 22 weeks after a cervical stitch was inserted. Her and my depression deepened greatly. In 1999 we moved to Vic, where I began a career as a Prison Officer. We also discovered a new technique which gave us a final shot at having a family - an Abdominal Cervical Suture, basically a big drawstring around the womb. We had it done, got pregnant and at 36 weeks had a beautiful baby girl. The suture was meant to stay in, but was causing great pain, so she had it surgically removed. During surgery, the surgeon nicked her bowel. 4 weeks later, her bowel ruptured and she ended up with a colostomy bag.

The abuse started again, as she had become addicted to opiates, smoking marijuana, drinking and using the colostomy as a form of abuse – she would deliberately take it off in bed and let the contents leak all over me. I spent many nights cleaning up shit in the bed and all over the house. I still stayed, because now I had a little girl who needed me. The colostomy was reversed after 6 months, and she was again put on even stronger pain meds. I had to install a secure medicine cabinet in the bathroom to prevent her from over dosing on opiates. With this, she then began calling 000 for an ambulance at least once a week for “chronic pain”. She'd get a shot of morphine in hospital and me and baby daughter would drag our arses out of bed in the middle of the night to go and pick her up.

The final straw for me was when she kicked me out of our home on several occasions, and I was forced to sleep in the local park at night. She would pass out on the back porch from all the drugs during the night, so I would sneak home, have a shower and get ready for work, and take my daughter to a neighbour's to go to school. At the end of the day, she would have no recollection of what she had done.

At night, she would fall asleep at the sink while washing the dishes. She would come into the bedroom with a knife and tell me when I went to sleep she would come in and slit my throat. One night, I left, with basically the clothes on my back and some uniform for work. We divorced, and to get back at me, she allowed the family home which was still in my name and hers, to go into foreclosure. She had gone bankrupt, and therefore was not liable for any of the debt, including the Mortgagee Insurance. I was left to pay. When I would visit to see my daughter, she became violent. On different occasions, she threw a treasured picture from my childhood at me, smashing the glass. She kicked my car door as I was getting in, trapping my head between the door and the body. She attempted to reverse over me in the driveway as I approached the house one day, just missing me. She was going as fast as she could in reverse, with our daughter in the car. All of this was reported to Police, who said there was nothing they could do as it was a “Domestic Dispute”. They also knew that I was a Prison Officer, and basically told me to harden up.

Fast forward a few years, and the abuse continued in the form of having IVOs brought out against me by my daughter, under the guidance of her mother. I have not seen my daughter for more than two years, except in court. My current partner and I have two children, who also miss seeing their sister. She is now 18.

In August 2018, my ex wife passed away suddenly from a blood clot on her lung. For the first time in years, I am finally free of her abuse. I went to her funeral, expecting to be glad to be there. Instead, I was a sobbing mess, not because I missed her or her presence, but because I realised I was grieving for the life she took away from me for all those years. The life I could never get back. The years without seeing my daughter. The years I suffered mentally and financially because of her ongoing campaign to bring me and my family down. I am finally free to tell my story, because, after all these years, her hold over me was still so strong that I was afraid of the consequences if I dared speak out while she was still alive.

Not everyone you lose is a loss.