I have suffered in silence.
Dr. T, I am writing this down for you because I can’t remain silent and be able to move on from the hell that was my engagement and marriage.
I met my now ex-wife back in 2011. We got together and dated for about 6 months before we got engaged.
The wedding took place almost a year later. We had our fights and stuff, but it got really bad before the wedding. I was about to leave and she used her family to bully me into going through with the marriage. Against the advisement of family and friends, I went through with it. Things were okay for about three months. After that, it all went to complete hell.
She would start arguments and go on a yelling rampage while calling me every name in the book. She expected me to work full time AND take care of the house. She wanted to take responsibility for getting the bills paid. The problem is, she never took the time to pay the bills.
She got her car repo’d, never dropped off rent, and never paid anything else. It was all my fault according to her. I worked over 80 hours a week, and, “I was never home and neglectful.” When I had days off, she would say, “You’re not making enough money.”
I got to a point where I would ignore her when she wanted to fight. She started physically assaulting me to force me to argue. She would punch me in the back repeatedly when I was trying to sleep.
This went on for the next 9 months. In that time, she got pregnant. Yes, my daughter is mine. No, I didn’t enjoy being with her intimately because it was always about her and when she felt like I deserved it. She made me feel like a toy.
Her outbursts and combativeness got worse during the pregnancy. She arbitrarily decided that she was leaving one night and, in a hysterical rage, packed a bag and went to walk down the road at 10 at night while she was nine months pregnant. After our daughter was born, she calmed down a bit or so I thought. In reality, she got even worse.
I would come home to find our daughter lying on the floor in front of the TV. By my ex’s own admission, she would let her lay there and scream for hours on end. I only had to pick our daughter up for five minutes, and she would go to sleep in my arms. I also had to pick my daughter up from a bar where my ex decided to go drinking. Then the day came when I realized I couldn’t save this marriage.
I came home from a five day shift in the field (oilfields). I just wanted to sleep, and she wanted to argue and fight. She started pushing me around. I locked myself in the bathroom and slept on the floor to get away.
I knew I couldn’t call the police. They would have arrested me just because I am a male. She then threatened to kill everyone in the house, took our daughter, said she would make sure I never saw her again, got in the car, and took off. The next day, I filed for orders of protection against her along with divorce.
I notified the city PD about the death threats. They said they couldn’t help me until she followed through with it. I am not kidding.
The county sheriff went to serve her with the orders of protection and the divorce papers. She evaded the county sheriff for a week. She checked into an abused women’s shelter. She went to a district court and had orders filed against me.
I didn’t run from the process server or try to hide. I accepted them and turned in my concealed handgun permit to the sheriff and surrendered my firearms to a trusted friend in accordance with the law. The sheriff wrote a letter to the court explaining that I complied immediately and that he knew me well enough to know that the orders against me were unwarranted.
The first court hearing in the case was supposed to be to make my orders of protection against her permanent. Since I filed in county court, the district court judge that she went to threw my orders out without properly notifying me. So, in the first hearing of this whole mess, the judge (Elizabeth Strobel, Weld County Colorado, District 9) would only listen to my ex’s case. She told my attorney and me that she didn’t want to hear anything from us.
This was the first time she allowed my ex to leave the state with my daughter. At this point, I hadn’t seen her in almost a month. Fortunately, the orders against me were dropped, but only because my ex felt like it.
The second hearing established parenting time. Long story short, she interfered non-stop. She violated court orders and the judge said that she wouldn’t hold my ex in contempt. The judge enabled her to be even more abusive, while separating me from my daughter even more. I was ordered to pay her more money than I could afford. I lost the house and had to move into a friend’s place. Right now, I still don’t have a place of my own.
For the last hearing, we went to a CFI. My ex admitted to him that she checked into the abuse shelter under false pretenses. He also noted that she showed strong symptoms of BPD along with HPD. The judge decided to allow my ex to leave the state permanently with my daughter. Her reasoning was that because I am a male, I am not biologically equipped to be a parent, and because I work full time, I am not qualified to be a parent. Under state law, my ex can not collect alimony because we were married for less than two years at the time of filing. I only pay child support now.
My ex still harasses me from a distance. She uses my daughter as a weapon to attack me. She interferes with the court orderd contact. She always has an excuse for why she can’t let me talk to her on Skype. The judge won’t hold her in contempt. The judge enables her abuse to continue.
I will never be free from this hell. I don’t care about myself in this though. What really bothers me the most, is that my daughter is stuck with it, and is being used as a weapon of war against me. She doesn’t deserve that, and I wish I knew how to save her from it.
I looked for help. I tried to talk to an abuse counselor. They didn’t care about me, and said they couldn’t help me. There was no help. And there isn’t any for other men like me…
In His Own Words/In Her Own Words is a joint effort between Shrink4Men and AVoiceForMen to help raise awareness about the invisible victims of domestic violence, men. If you would like to submit your story, please follow the guidelines at the end of this article.
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Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD provides confidential, fee-for-service, counseling, consultation and coaching services to help both men and women work through their relationship issues via telephone and/or Skype chat. Her practice combines practical advice, support, reality testing and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Shrink4Men Services page for professional inquiries.