Grieving the death of friendships.

13 12 2010

As time goes on I find that I dwell on the past less. There are times however when the past does seem to catch up with me and this morning was one of those times. What I mean by the past catching up with me is how I label when the pain of the past causes me deep fear; causes me to barely able to move and causes me to curl up in bed crying out in an internal pain that I can barely voice.

I don’t know why this happens. Perhaps its part of the grieving process! This morning I woke up thinking about the destruction of past friendships. There are three friendships in particular that my ex wife destroyed which cuts to the bone. While there are others she caused to become distant within the marriage; I have in some ways resumed some contact with them, but in particular the loss of these 3 friends really hurts.

2 are a couple whom I have known for 25 years. We spent time together, helping each other out; got drunk and in general had a good time. Another is married and though I know her husband and got on well with him;  I was closer to her then he.

These friends were there for me when my dad died. They were there for me during many other times. I went to their weddings, children’s baptisms, anniversaries, birthday parties. We went on holidays and went interstate with each other.

There was one time when we went on a road trip to Melbourne. I was driving my friends car, he was in the back with his wife and I found myself stuck behind a tram… his words of advice to me were...there is another tram coming up behind you. On the trip home we caught up with other friends at Albury where we stayed for the weekend… and we left as a group and his car broke down… being the adventurous type and having done much hitch hiking in the past I was sent off to try and catch up with the others. … some time later I find myself 50 kms up the road hoping for another lift, having waited for some time….and they come trundling up the road and he cheekily stops and asks if I would like a lift.

There was a time we both were sick; I found he had the day off and we decided to drink 2 bottles of port. Our reasoning being if we are going to be sick ,we might as well enjoy it. Another time he borrowed my lawn mower and told me that as he was mowing the lawn; the disk and blade unit came of and scattered across his backyard. By now you can get the drift that we shared a lot of good times.

Years ago one couple moved up to Queensland. We saw and heard little from them, apart from a yearly visit and phone calls. Despite this I still considered them friends.

8 months ago I discovered them on face book. They have my two brothers on their group of friends and rejected my contact with them. The other friend has done likewise; though she doesn’t know my brothers…I have since found out that when I separated from my wife in February 2009 she rang all of my friends telling them lies about me.

Losing friendships hurts. It makes you wonder what was the point. What was the point of those past experiences.  And so deep grief raises its ugly head about deep losses and not only is it a loss; it goes deeper then just loss. It comes from the helplessness and hopelessness that comes about from death. It’s the death of friendship. There is pain from rejection.

And this pain of rejection feeds on the pain of abuse. For abuse is all about rejection. It’s all about the rejection of your right to be treated with dignity and respect. Abuse is all about control and manipulation. Its all about destroying who you are as a person. And so this morning I found myself under the weight of the past abuse. The memory of the hopelessness. The memory of the despair.

Yet there is hope. There is joy. There is new purpose. I find when I hit rock bottom like this; I try to take my thoughts captive and think about mercy and justice. I think about when I met my current wife and when we married 6 months ago. I think about the new friendships I have made since. I think about the hope I have as a Christian. And this morning I found an email in my in-box from someone who is taking the issue of intimate partner abuse of men seriously and is going to promote it via the media.

Fortified defences / How I responded

1 06 2010

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”?

When is the truth not the truth?

20 05 2010

Its been interesting to read what information is out there regarding domestic abuse from official websites.

The department of community services in NSW Australia have nothing…not a thing to help men who may be going through an abusive time. On the NSW Police force’s website on its section about domestic abuse it begins with saying that men are more often the perpeptuators of voilence in a relationship…this is for the most part correct when it comes to physical battering, though women are mostly guilty of slapping, throwing items and biting.

It then goes to say that emotional and vervbal abuse are the most common forms of abuse and its results are often more devastating then other forms….which means the information offered by the NSW Police Force is wrong because research shows that it is women who are the greater offender of emotional and verbal abuse.

A survey research paper done by the department of Health by the Canadian Government says that in hetrosexual relationships 8% of women will face domestic abuse and 7% of men will suffer from abuse..

In England and the United States research is saying that 40% of all domestic abuse victims are men…and that figure most likely is under reported as men tend to suffer a greater deal of shame and embarressment to report it. As someone who has been involved in suicide prevention and awareness, I would like to be able to find out the number of men who have taken their lives because of continual abuse?

If so then the information that’s given by the government and accepted as truth by  society is wrong, for if  someone takes their life because of abuse then those people are victims of abuse…m

There are no indications to say that the research done in Canada, America and England would have any different social markers for society in Australia and indeed most of the research that is publicised and used in Australia references selected papers used in those other countries. Whether we use the Canadian percentages or the stats from America and England the truth is that there isn’t such a big difference between who is a victim of abuse.

I stand against abuse of any kind… I am against abuse of any kind against men and children and I am against abuse of any kind against women.

In the fight to stop it, lets stop with the lies that is fed to society and admit it is more then just a gender issue.