Madness, madness, they call it madness
Coersive Control, Physical Abuse: it can happen to men too.
Domestic abuse remains something incredibly hard to talk about for women, who quite often face derogatory commentary focused on them being in part to blame. In recent years, so much work has been done to destigmatize the shame around domestic abuse so that victims, and others, can speak out. This story is not about women as the victims, however, but as the perpetrators of abuse.
Jealousy and possessiveness can cause just a much damage as physical abuse - coercive control can leave you feeling completely isolated.
Today we share the story of a very brave man, Baz, who’s relationship started with coercive control and escalated to physical abuse. His story explains how, as a man, he felt he had nowhere to go and that no one would believe what was happening to him. By telling his story he hopes to show other men out there that they are not alone.
Prior to meeting my ex I was a fun loving teenager, a rude boy who loved anything Ska… I still do, even as a 50yr old!
When I met her everything was great , and remained so right up until our son reached his teens. I sacrificed my career to enable her to pursue hers as an accountant. Once this was achieved and she became the main breadwinner, her behaviour towards me changed considerably.
The change in behavior was slow at first but became increasingly controlling. She first took control of our spending, where we would go out to, and for how long, and if I suggested anything, I would be told no. I lost my voice and my right to have any say on our lives. After some time, she became more and more verbally abusive and in time this became physical, which got worse and worse as each year passed.
I love football, Man United to be precise, and if we were in our local pub, she would make me leave as the match began. Friends and acquaintances thought I was a happy person because I made everyone laugh, but inside I was the total opposite. I was hurt by the way I was being treated, ashamed that I couldn’t speak out, and fearful of my suicidal thoughts ( twice I nearly went through with it). What stopped me from doing the unthinkable was that, had I gone through with it, it would be my teenage son coming home from school who would have found me.
I couldn’t do that.
I used to spend time with a friend in the local and as I was a huge fan of the Specials, regularly wearing a T-shirt from a gig I’d attended. One evening my friend remarked that it wasn’t the usual T-shirt, and I was too ashamed to admit she’d ripped it off my back in one of her frenzies. I had found a similar t-shirt online and replaced it – another vain attempt to hide the truth about what was happening to me.
I had to find a solution to the situation I was in, so I went to see a nurse who told me I was suffering from depression and I was forwarded to a doctor who arranged counselling for me.
The counselling worked for a short period and they helped me stand up for myself, but this only resulted in more violence towards me and additional mental abuse. My depression was used against me and I was repeatedly told to ‘get over it, stop being weak’.
After many years I met a lady who became my saviour. She listened and made me realise that only I could change the situation I was in. She understood, gave me advice and became a real friend.
Things came to a head around Halloween 2018 having had an awful weekend away with my wife. I went to the local with a friend, which I was able to do because she had gone out with her girlfriends.
That evening I bumped into my friend and asked if we could talk. We stood in her kitchen all night talking. All night my phone was ringing - FB messages from friends asking if anyone had seen me, but I knew I just had to talk, cry and unburden the past 20+ years.
I went home at 6am and was met with a very angry wife. I told her I wasn’t willing to talk and had a couple of hours in the spare room. I then got up and left the house, contemplated just stepping into the road and ending it. I didn’t.
Where am I now?
With all my strength I left her. I’ve lost friends as they didn't believe what I was saying - even the guy in the pub who had seen and queried the Specials T-shirt.
It took me a good 12 months to speak out and it saddens me that people still don’t believe my story. Telling my Dad was hard as he had no idea but the strength and love he has since showered me with has been wonderful.
I am pleased to say that 2 years on I’m happy – happier than I’ve ever been.
I had support from work who arranged additional counselling, which made me understand the coercive and abusive marriage I’d been in.
And guess what? I married that lady who supported me - we eloped in December 2019 at a beautiful venue in Devon on my 50th Birthday and I’ll never look back.