So far in my posts I have spoken about whats been happening to me. I think its important for me to write about the ways I responded to my situation. There are times when I struggle with the way I acted and responded to my wifes actions. And there are times when I will feel a weight of guilt and shame rise up within me that indeed the way I responded made my wife do what she did.
It came to the point where I was no longer able to sit down and talk with my wife for more than a few minutes. I feared what was going to come out of her mouth. When she would shout or call me names I would turn my back and walk away from her.
The study become my man’s shed. It became my place of refuge. There in peace I could listen to music. I could sleep in my chair. I could write. I could read. I could pray. When I was housebound from my disability it was the place where I could interact with the world through the internet.
When the violence escalated I would put my hand out like a stop sign saying, “If you don’t stop I will ring the police and have you charged. This would settle the situation down a little, causing her to retort to me about being a snivelling snitch who needed to run to the police.
After I had been punched in the head I felt physically sick in her presence. If I went out I would not want to come home. It seemed that no one wanted to listen to me or were willing to listen to me. Inside I craved a kind word. A kind touch. A kind gesture.
Because of my health limitations I would often be bored and started to play poker on the internet. Never for money though. I started to talk to people and meet others on the net through forums such as Face Book and other forums. This to some extent started to meet my basic needs for human acceptance. Because of my broken spirit, I started to turn to anyone who offered me a kind word. I found people on the internet who would listen to my heart ache.
There were a couple of people who I met for coffee whom I had met on the net. Over the years I have met people through various forums and have made some good friends from these meetings. The first of these coffee meetings happened a few months before I separated. None of my coffee meetings were sexual in nature nor were they a start to any affair.
I did meet one girl on the net who did like me and I did like her. I quickly realised that it wasn’t possible, practical nor sustainable. A marriage counsellor asked my ex and I to do some homework by writing a letter to each other, but not to give this letter to each other…nor were we to read each others letter. I started to write a letter to my wife telling her how she was destroying me. How her actions were causing me to hate her…
It was too much for me to write these things and on the next page I started to write a letter to this other girl whom I spoke about above. I wrote about how her kindness affected me and how I wanted to be her man. There were a few more things I wrote on each page…but I can’t remember. What I do know is the things I wrote on the second page was actually the things I wanted to say to my wife. I wanted to tell my wife that I wanted her to the woman in my life. I wanted to say how much I appreciated her words. How much I appreciated her kindness….these were things I wanted to say and needed to say. The reality though I wasn’t able to say those things.
I tried to set up tape recorder to record my wifes behaviour, often saying to her can you speak up more louder for the tape…holding a microphone up in my hand …she would storm out away from me and it became a way for me to feel safe, a self-defence mechanism.
When my wife disconnected the internet, I had to ring my bro on his mobile as I used to chat to him on the internet. As I was calling him she said that she was going to cancel the house phone and just use her mobile phone because I had no right to use the phone because I wasn’t working and paying the bills. …. I had no money, had no mobile phone and had no way to contact others.. She snarled at me saying…whats the matter can’t you survive without being able to be contactable…
Up till that point I had walked away and tried not to respond to her attacks. Deep anger rose up in me and I threw the phone to the floor. I grabbed her phone and took the battery from it and she reacted saying give me my battery back, this is my life line. I didn’t and she attacked me tearing my shirt from me, hitting me. She then threatened that if I didn’t give her battery back to her she would destroy my computer, destroy my writings and rip up my books.
I stood in front of the study where she attacked me again telling me to get out-of-the-way. I was able to restrain her and somehow move her more into the center of the room. Then I was bitten on the wrist to the bone. I pushed her away from me and she fell onto the couch hitting her face while doing so.
It was then she rang the police telling them I had abused her. They came and eventually asked me if I wanted to charge her for abuse. I said no, and they advised me to move out, which I did.Into the back of my van for a several weeks.
When i moved in with my brother, she would ring there abusing me and I would hang the phone up on her. Whenever she would yell, shout, criticize etc I would hang up on her. This action caused her to be more angry with me.
While living at my brothers I had access to my boys. I lived across from the school and would pick them up most days. On the days I would pick them up for them to stay with me she would force herself into the house and make the kids change from their school uniform into other clothes. She would say things like…I’m doing this for the kids sake because you don’t know how to look after them properly… in the end I had to tell her… you cannot come in her any more…if you do I will ring the police and have you charge with assault and trespass.
I still don’t feel safe in her presence. At our last mediation session I told her that I do not feel safe in her presence. While the facilitator’s back was turned away from us as he wrote on the white board, she smiled at me making a gesture of playing a violin. I said to her, I find your actions very abusive and as the facilitator turned to us she stopped doing what she was doing and pretended to do some reading.
I often question myself asking if what I did cause the abuse? Was it a natural reaction to what was going on around me? Could I have reacted in other ways? Were there other coping strategies that I could have put into place instead of the ones I did?
The questions I ask others who tell me I did the wrong thing and made the wrong choices is “What would you have done if you were in my shoes”?