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To be annoyed when people suggest that I should accept some blame

(24 Posts)
ProudestDad Thu 02-May-13 02:10:13

When I had a concern to raise with my then DW, be it regarding money, holiday plans, Christmas, kids, schooling, intimacy, I would raise it, and the concern would be taken as criticsm. The resulting insults and character assasination that she would shout at me would be too much for me to take. "Cretin, idiot, F***in D**k Head, B**st**d" were words that were thrown at me as a result of my simply bringing something up, be it trees in the garden, shopping lists, whether we could afford and manage a family dog. For years it brought me to my knees, to the point that I sought councilling because I believed that I needed to change. I even questioned my value to those around me to the point where I considered that the workd would be better off without me. 14 years of it in total.

When, after many years, I stood up to the insults and wild suggestions, such as that my children would hate me if I did not bow to her materilalistic needs for family dog, or a holiday, she hit me. It happened three times, and on one occasion she told me that I should hit her back, and that I was a wimp for not doing so. As I left the room I found my 11 year old DS on the other side of the door who told me "you're not a wimp Daddy, you ran a marathon".

By this time I had been driven to such dispair at her denial of the things that she screamed and shouted at me that I was iPhone recording our arguments by then and I have her recorded hitting me and telling me to hit her back as well as a multitde of other abuses.

I left a few months later. That was in June 2012. After almost a year apart, a family member has suggested that I must have done something wrong to have brought the worst out of my Ex DW, but I cannot accept that. I made choices when speaking to my Ex, to communicate with her, respectfully and not to call her names, not to put her down, not to blame her, not to hit her AT ALL, but to air my issue and seek a mutual resolution, but she chose to do all of those abusive things to me. I believe that she could have responded differently, but even now she maintains that I was the cause of her reactions, that I "forced" her to say things and to hit, and that no one else brings out this side of her, that there is a problem with the "whole of" my "being".

I feel that some others in my life believe that if my Ex felt it necessary to hit me then I must have been playing my part in giving her no other choice, and that it is "understandable". I want to plead my case, but to do so is exhausting, upsetting and damages my self esteem, as I don't want to be talking about it, as it has gone on for 14 years and is too huge to sum up to someone who has not experinced it.

I am visiting a therapist twice a month and hope I can put her abuses behind me. I hope to reach a point where I do not even mention her abuses, becasue to do so in conversation with family, friends, or a potential future partner is opening a can of worms that can not be easily explained without a long, sad explanation, and such a discussion might lead to comments like "surely you must have done something to push the wrong buttons in her", which almost throws me right back into the situation when she came across the room and hit me because I was voicing an opinion about an aspect of our lives.

I believe that my ex's attutude is rare, but I have expirienced it. I wonder what I can say to anyone who suggests that it might have been 6 of one and half a dozsen of the other?

mumblechum1 Thu 02-May-13 02:19:27

Personally I wouldn't discuss the reasons for the breakdown of your marriage with anyone but your therapist. Most people do keep the reasons private for good reason.

If anyone asks why you split up, just tell them you weren't happy and change the subject.

AdoraBell Thu 02-May-13 02:26:15

I can't advise anything different to what mumblechum1 has said, just keep talking to your therapist and don't get drawn into conversations about your marriage.

Maybe people are saying what they are because it is less comman for a woman to be the abusive partner and so they can't really accept it? It's still wrong of them though.

Therapy will work even though at times it is a painful process.

complexnumber Thu 02-May-13 02:28:08

Where are your children now?

raisah Thu 02-May-13 02:38:50

You are well out of it and I hope you fibd some peace in your life now.that you are free from this vile woman. Unfortunately bullies repeat their behaviour so it wont be long until she starts up again with someone else. Do you fear for the safety of your kids? Do you have custody or does she? I would seek advice from a solicitor and show them your recordings of her being abusive. Atleast it would be noted if no action is taken just yet. She clearlt has anger issues and may decide to replace you with your kids as the target of her abuse.

ivanapoo Thu 02-May-13 04:02:26

Abusive people are renowned for being charmers in public - was your wife like this?

If yes perhaps they find it hard to reconcile the woman they know with the one you describe.

Please ignore your family member's comments that you are somehow to blame.

hm32 Thu 02-May-13 06:09:02

Just say you're better apart and refuse to go into details with friends/family.

I do hope your kids are with you? She will be just as irrational with them, and it's very damaging for children to experience that sort of behaviour. Would be raised as a child protection issue in their schools if the school knew.

I remember hiding in my bedroom from my mother as a child. When my dad was home she directed it at him, but when he was at work I was fair game. Now you are no longer there, she will take it out on either the eldest, or all of them. Please look out for them. You know it wasn't your fault, it won't be theirs either.

bumperella Thu 02-May-13 08:49:07

If it were a husband hitting his wife then I imagine many people's attitude would be different, when in reality it's the same thing.

However. Try avoiding entering into a discussion about the break-up with people other than those who you completely trust. But if people push you about it then try telling them straight "I don't want to have this conversation with you, it's really none of your business".

Groovee Thu 02-May-13 08:56:28

She was abusive and there was no excuse for that. If you had been like that to her, the sympathy would lie with her.

Don't enter discussions with people who are too narrowminded to think it could happen otherwise.

You did the right thing for you and your children. When even your child says that you are not a wimp, you know they can see the true side of their mother.

My brother was physically assaulted on a number on occasions by his ex wife. She used to call the police and have him arrested for attacking her. But trying to get the police to listen because they wouldn't believe a wee defenceless woman could do that. She shakes in public when she see's any of us as she knows we know the truth. It would appear her 2 long term partners left for the same reason before him. sad

diddl Thu 02-May-13 08:56:45

Yes I agree if it was a man, I could imagine as many people as possible being told & supervised contact with the children being wanted.

There's no reason to tell anyone anything if you don't want to.

I hope that your children are safe.

KittensoftPuppydog Thu 02-May-13 09:06:15

Contact the Survivors Trust. V helpful and understanding re female on male violence.

ZillionChocolate Thu 02-May-13 09:14:44

I think it's probably sexism; people find it difficult to believe as it doesn't fit in with the traditional view of men/women. For her to be violent requires an explanation, ie "you drove her to it". Complete rubbish of course, as an adult she was responsible for her own behaviour and on your account you stayed calm in the face of extreme provocation.

You do not need to discuss the end of your marriage if you don't want to. I'm not sure talking to narrow minded people will help. You might want to point out to them that they are blaming you for being assaulted, would they do that to a woman?

Definitely consider accessing some wider support beyond your therapist.

Are your children safe?

sparechange Thu 02-May-13 09:33:25

Horribly, my parents marriage broke down for what sounds like very similar reasons and my dad got a few digs from people over the years. It is hideous gender stereotyping and should be totally ignored.
Tellingly, when I left an emotionally abusive relationship, no one suggested that it was my fault, or I had made him do it....

Where are your children? Do they know the truth? My mother spent many years trying to poison my siblings and I against my father because she couldn't face ever being cast the the person at fault. It isn't uncommon.

I really hope things work out for you, because you sound like you really did all you could

BlueberryHill Thu 02-May-13 10:57:38

YANBU, I read your post and swapped he for she etc and the attitudes displayed by people to your marriage and the abuse, when it is switched around from the typical view of domestic abuse, is horrible. It is an additional burden to carry on top of the abuse. It was not your fault, the fault rests solely with your wife for this.

Agree with all the other posters, who are your children with?

It may be a good idea to have the thread moved to relationships, you will get more advice there, AIBU isn't the best place.

LemonBreeland Thu 02-May-13 11:06:13

Your post reminds me so much of somebody I know going through a similar situation. I believe that if you were a woman there would sadly still be people who would believe the same as your family member. However it would probably be a lot less people.

I think sometimes people find it hard to believe that there are people in this world who are that abusive, and will be however they are treated themselves.

I think these are the kind of circumstances where sadly you find out who really cares about you and is on yur side. You now know that this is a person not to share anything with again.

I hope you are finding the therapy a help.

Sunnywithshowers Thu 02-May-13 12:02:39

YANBU. I'm sorry you've been through this, abuse of any kind is vile.

I'd echo advice above about not discussing it with others if they're going to talk rubbish. Abusers abuse people no matter what you do.

Take care of yourself x

DionFortune Thu 02-May-13 13:57:58

YANBU. Your wife chose to be abusive, it was not your fault and I would avoid anyone who suggested that it was.

Well done for getting out, it does get easier and therapy will help you come to terms with the abuse.

ProudestDad Fri 03-May-13 01:04:16

Thanks to all who have responded.

I agree that when faced with questions about the reasons for the breakup I should not go into any detail but simply tell the person that my ex and I simply didn't understand one another and that being apart was for the best.

My children spend half the week with me and the other with their mum. I rented a three bed place last year and will be moving to a four bed in June. My children seem comfortable with moving between the two houses, but the eldest two have remarked to me that I react differently to everyday situations when compared to their Mum. When My youngest DS dropped food on his school shirt the other day I said "don't worry I'll wash it after dinner" to which my other DS asked "arn't you going to flip out like Mummy" he then gave us an impersonation of how he perceives her to be when an accident happens. This led to a conversation about how it's best to deal with little dramas calmly.

I have discussed my options with a solicitor who told me that my journal and recordings of her abuses would not be enough to use for gaining custordy of the children and that had I thought them to be at risk I would have taken them with me when I left last year. When I did leave I told my DS that she had a choice (the solicitor had told me this) and she responded "I'd rather live with you". In the weeks following we all seemed to settle into a new routing of 50 50. Over recent weeks all three have chosen to come to me outside of the arrangement that exists between my ex and I. I was particularly pleased when my youngest chose to come to me for an extra night last week. I am hoping that my making a comfortable and calm home (although busy with family life) for me and the children will lead to my eldest two choosing to be with me more and more and my youngest coming along with them.

I am petitioning for divorce on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour. I will keep a close eye on the children and talk to them about life with their mum. Being self employed also gives me the ability to be flexible around the school day and holidays.

I will follow the advice to move this thread to relationships and will continue to air my feelings with my therapist.

Once again thanks to everyone who responded to my post and for your good wishes and advice.

IneedAsockamnesty Fri 03-May-13 01:09:04

A good response would be....

"Do you always blame the victims of domestic violence?"

Then dignified silence combined with a look of utter contempt.

That's what I do every time I encounter that type of behaviour.

RedHelenB Fri 03-May-13 07:35:43

I think it may be a way that men write but you do come across as sort of smug! BTW I know full well about female domestic violence to men & you absolutely did the right thing for your sake & your kid's to leave. Other people's opinions don't matter.

CloudsAndTrees Fri 03-May-13 07:54:56

You need to let of of the feeling that you need other people to understand. You know what happened, other people's misinformed and misguided judgements have no value.

Try not to be drawn into having to give explanations, you don't owe that to anyone.

It sounds like you are doing a great job, well done!

BlackeyedSusan Fri 03-May-13 07:56:48

violence is never the victims fault. she was abusive. unfortunately, as a male, you are a long way behind in the process of society believing it happens and that it is not. it has progressed a long way for women, not there yet, but futher along than for male victims. that is crap.

I suspect there is a whole group of people who think I should not have left h, he neglected to tell them what happened and i found it too painful. he is the one who still got the invites and help [eyeroll]

Justforlaughs Fri 03-May-13 08:02:39

No victim of abuse is to blame, but you already know that. Move on now, speak to your therapist, refuse to speak about your marriage break-down to anyone else. Look after your children. Good luck

IneedAsockamnesty Fri 03-May-13 09:12:09


There are a whole group of people who think rubbish like that no matter how much they think know about the situation. What matters is they are the ones who are clearly showing themselves to be stupid.

Male or female violence is always wrong abuse is always the fault of the abuser and it takes huge bravery to get out.

Oh and I know it was not you but I cannot believe a pp just called a DV victim who is discussing abuse smug,I now understand why people use the expression "boils my piss".

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