When a woman’s act of violence toward a man is actually covered by mainstream news publications, you usually don’t have to wade too far into the comments section before stumbling upon some variation of, “Well, he must have done something to deserve it.”
Catherine Kieu Becker cut her husband’s penis off because he asked for a divorce and an entire audience applauded and laughed as Sharon Osbourne cackled and joked about the incident. Female victims of domestic violence are taken seriously and treated with a kind of reverence. Male victims of domestic violence are typically invisible unless they become an object of ridicule.
The reality is that abusers, male or female, don’t need a “reason” to abuse. Some abuse their spouse and children because a co-worker slighted them and they know enough not to act out at the office. Some engage in abusive behaviors to maintain a sense of control. Some abuse because they never learned healthy, adult problem-solving skills. Some abuse because they’re sadistic psychos who enjoy inflicting pain.
Today’s In His Own Words illustrates this perfectly.
[In His Own Words is an effort 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.]
One Brownie, Hold the Nuts
I was married to an abusive woman, whom I left in 2007. The effects of living with her for ten years perfectly match what Dr. Palmatier describes on her website, Shrink4Men. She was and is a master manipulator, able to turn reality on its head.
The day after I left, my ex filed for an EPO (emergency protective order) falsely claiming domestic abuse. Between getting served with notice and the hearing, which was set for a few days later, I hired a lawyer and prepared divorce papers. Before the hearing she called me repeatedly and said she would make it “go away” if I would agree to work things out with her.
Fortunately, the judge decided at the hearing that there was no basis for her claims and denied the EPO petition. That was the only correct decision that judge ever made on my behalf though. The EPO hearing was also when we notified my ex that I was filing for divorce. She virtually ran from the courthouse, went home, piled all of my clothes into my other car, cancelled my credit cards, email access, checking account access, etc., and thus began a legal fight that cost me more than $50k, and I still got screwed in the end.
Shortly after we divorced, she began a new relationship with a man she met online and, according to her, no one has ever made her happier, and he is unselfishly going to mend her broken spirit. She also told me that the new guy wants to meet me to ask me one simple question, “How did I let such a wonderful woman get away?”
Really the only thing that is getting to me right now is how easily she jumped into bed with a complete stranger the first time they met in person — which was only two weeks after meeting online and texting, etc. This is after years of telling me I’m a pervert for wanting to have sex once a week, and while we were getting divorced quoting Bible verses to me regarding the immorality of sex outside of marriage.
I shouldn’t have been surprised because she did almost the same thing with me when I met her ten years ago. It was instant honeymoon to start, and then hurricane, calm, hurricane, calm, hurricane, ad infinitum. When I told my 87-year old Dad about her instant lover, he responded, “What, did you think you were special?” Apparently so.
I have two sons from a previous marriage (mother is deceased) and a daughter with my ex. She has been working hard to alienate our daughter with some success, but I cannot afford a custody fight and the thought of stepping foot in family court again makes me want to throw up. She used the system to out maneuver me every step of the way just like she controlled everything while we were married.
As despicable as this woman is, I still get jealous when she drops my daughter off and she’s off to meet her boyfriend (I know because he lives over an hour away and she always takes the dog with her to spend the night). She’s 45-years old but looks much younger and has lately been dressing like someone in her 20′s or early 30′s. I guess it all goes back to the self-esteem beat down I took for so long with comments like, “You’re not the type of guy I’m normally attracted to,” and many others relating to appearance and other perceived inadequacies. And there’s always this irrational fear that that she’ll somehow become great and normal for this guy and it was me all along just like she has said so often.
It helps to remember some of the slightest and strangest things that would set my ex off. In stark comparison to “normal” moments and moods, she raged and/or threatened divorce over:
- Washing silverware and non-stick pans with the coarse side of a sponge;
- Our son taking “too small” bites of a pizza;
- A male friend asking me to go watch a game with some other guys at a sports bar;
- The kids not making their beds correctly with the multi-size decorative pillows she bought for each;
- Our pre-teen and teenage sons not leaving their bedroom doors open as she instructed;
- Me asking to listen to anything besides country music on cross country road trips;
- Me wanting to make my kids from a previous marriage (whose mother died when they were very young) beneficiaries of a life insurance policy. Even though I offered to take out a separate policy for her worth even more;
- The fact that I did not cry at our wedding (this one came up time and time again and each time it would take hours and sometimes days to get her off the subject);
- Me not remembering: her favorite color, flower, ice cream flavor, etc., etc., etc.;
- And many, many more.
Her last rage episode, the one that inspired me to tell my boys to pack their bags we are leaving and never coming back would be hilarious, if it wasn’t so absurd, was over a brownie.
That’s right, a brownie.
My son, who was thirteen at the time, had asked if he could make a pan of brownies. She said yes, but on the condition that each of the three kids have no more than one before dinner. While she and I were outside arguing over the quality of the landscaping job the boys and I had just completed for her after two full days of hard labor, my son cut the brownies and arranged them on a platter. He came outside and offered her one.
When we went in the house a little while later, she took all of the brownies off of the platter and started to re-fit them into the baking pan to make sure no more than three were missing. Well, they didn’t fit because someone had eaten more than one (not really, she had eaten the fourth one).
She began to interrogate, accuse, and threaten a whipping (with a belt) for whoever was lying and she was going to make everyone stay in the room until someone confessed. I tried to reason with her and explain the math but I knew from a thousand previous incidents how this would end. She was queen of making mountains out of molehills and this one was well underway.
Long story short, we left and never went back. She has never apologized for any of these incidents, claiming they were my fault or the kids’ fault for upsetting her. But as our marriage counselor told me, it’s not up to me and the kids to control her anger, it’s up to her.
I know down to my bones leaving was the right decision, but my self-esteem is shot and self-doubt is ever present. Meanwhile, my ex, who I think is more NPD than BPD, has blissfully moved on to the next victim. I know I should be happy about this, as it keeps her occupied and away from me, but on some deep, disturbing level, I’m disappointed that I failed to make her happy.
If I had a dollar for every time she said “If you really loved me, you would” — fill in the blank here with whatever, from the really mundane like “not use the scratchy part of the dish sponge to wash the silverware” to “let me buy a horse,” “buy an investment property,” “convert to Catholicism” even though she wasn’t Catholic, but a house painter she hired convinced her it was the one true religion and we better hurry or we were all doomed – I’d have a lot of dollars.
When I told our marriage counselor about the “If you loved me…” comments during one of my last lone visits, as she had dropped out by then after the therapist told her something she didn’t like, he told me to say “Well I guess I don’t love you that much then.”
I never got the guts to do it, but wish I had. I spent ten years trying to prove to her that I loved her. All the while her abusiveness made it increasingly more difficult and finally impossible. But now, the new guy of approximately 6 weeks has made her “happier than I ever did.” Part of it she says is because of his looks, he’s “more my type and you were not the kind of guy I’m normally attracted to as all my previous boyfriends were gorgeous,” and part of it is because “he’s going to help me with my trust issues and help me heal.”
Good luck, fella.
Oh, and she says he wants to ask me one simple question, “How did I let such a wonderful catch get away?” I’ve come up with a thousand different answers in case I ever get the chance, but my latest favorite is “Give her your credit card for a week and you’ll know.”
I think we all tend to remember the good times and romanticize how wonderful they were, especially when we’re lonely, but the reality of my relationship at least, was that it was way out of balance and I had to continually agree to a distorted viewpoint in order to keep the peace. My kids suffered as a result and so did I. Her new knight in shining armor can have at it.
Thank you, Ted, for sharing your story. I hope you have been able to undo the damage of your ex’s alienation efforts and that any remaining nostalgia for her has long since passed. You and your children deserve better. (*Ted shared his story of abuse on Shrink4Men in 2009).
Counseling with Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD
Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD helps individuals work through their relationship and codependency issues via telephone or Skype. She specializes in helping men and women trying to break free of an abusive relationship, cope with the stress of an abusive relationship or heal from an abusive relationship. Coaching individuals through high-conflict divorce and custody cases is also an area of expertise. She combines practical advice, emotional support and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Schedule a Session page for more information.
Want to Say Goodbye to Crazy? Buy it HERE.
Again, wow. Everytime I read this stuff, and now, these in-depth stories this month, it just drives home so many t hings and that getting out of the marriage was the right move for me too. I literally breathe easier after seeing this; I accept it wasn’t me who was the problem but rather her…and just how bad she was, and how much denial I was in.
Slightly changing the subject…I’m torn. I would really like to find a good woman to love, be with, possibly marry someday. Yet, I’m not sure if love exists, if its really possible, and if its worth the risks involved. So should I stay home and be lonely? Should I go out and be a player and sleep around (which is pretty easy to do these days)? Its fun for awhile and things seem to go better when I do that…but…its unfulfilling and not what I really want. But I don’t see much other alternative.
I’m playing “catch up” on reading all of the articles of the past. I just registered on here to see if I can offer help (as many of these articles and comments – including your stories, comments) have helped me.
The answer to your question…is no and hang in there! You should always focus on yourself, first, (i.e. gym, hobbies, etc..) and in due course you’ll find a good woman. I would suggest maybe taking up a new hobby..maybe something you’ve always thought about doing but never had the time, money or you were too afraid. You’ll find other people (and women) with similar hobbies and in time…you may find that right (good) woman who actually shares those same interests.
It’s tough…be patient…and hang in there!
Thanks Driver. Appreciate feedback and positive attitude. I’ve tried new hobbies (hiking) and some of the normal hiking members had a female hiker friend they wanted me to meet. So I met her on a group hike, and she turned out to be bat shit crazy. I described her in one of my comments/posts this past summer. Also met a classic Narcissist/Sociopath at the gym and that was a humdinger. Then again, I live in southern California, literally a manufacturer of BPD/NPD/Sociopath and its well-known Socal is difficult place to date. They say between L.A. and Orange County divorce rate is over 60%. I have some creepy stories of Socal women too. Its just not worth it. Guess if I’m desperate for female company can always go to the massage parlors that abound here…
and many thanks for your help as well, Dr. T.
I will do what I can to help here and to promote this site.
Itza Sekret says
Reading about these experiences is great therapy. Becomes a lot easier to see how BP’s & NP’s use the Next Guy to try getting revenge on the Last Guy, while shoring up their deeply rooted insecurities.
They step out immediatly after their life support (the relationship) collapses, throw some sex at the Next Guy to suck him in, brag about how much better it all is and or post a lot of social media pics with Next Guy, play the victim so Next Guy get’s all Man Tingly about saving & rescuing, claim Next Guy is their One True Love, and work it all to maximize their own validation.
I see now how my ex, who I think had just a little too much BP/NP (like a little too much arsenic) did the same by flaunting her new “love” all over social media, doing her best to show him off to my friends/family, etc.
Just trying to validate herself, after her temper tantrums ruined our relationship.
I was Next Guy once, and then I became Last Guy when I got wise to her crap. Now a new Next Guy is well on his way to being Last Guy eventually, cuz I know damned well he has no idea what he’s gotten into.
Narcissism is a hoax on the unwitting, or naive, admirer.
I hope the author of this story is doing well now. I am new here and am amazed at how these stories all sound so familiar to what my husband goes through with his ex wife and his 2 small children. I am very lucky that my daughters father and I have remained very good friends after our divorce, so this is all new and sometimes overwhelming to me. I feel this site will be a wonderful help for not only my husband, but also myself, so we may understand how to cope with such a complex and ever changing mentally ill ex wife and mother of 2 helpless little children. Thank you for sharing your story and I am truly sorry you are going through this, but especially thank you for the tiny bit of humor about the brownie. Yes the brownie helped me to see that we are not alone in dealing with why a “crazy” goes off the deep end about nothing. It’s simply because they are not in control any more… Best wishes…
I’ve read through several of these stories now, and minus kids and marriage some of the issues are similar. We were together for 9 years, the relashionship was a broken mess for most of that time. It’s been over for 10 months and he’s since moved on. For me it’s a struggle, but to further understand I just want to draw light to a few things. All of the he hurt me so I’ll hurt him, he’s the monster, I want to kill myself because being with him is a nightmare, but now we’re apart and it’s still a nightmare. There are several issues that I have a really hard time getting over. Very shortly after I left, and at 33 moved back in with my parents, who I love but we don’t get along. He told me he was going to Vancouver to see his friend. I didn’t doubt his story. Until the day he left and I discovered after hours of his games that it was a lie and he was really in Vegas. Now, fine you want to leave go ahead. But, why lie? He literally and I do mean literally tortured me for hours toying with my emotions. In a I screwed you over bitch, how’d you like it? It wasn’t, in my opinion necessary to hurt me like that. So, after he gets back he again lies and said he met 2 1/2 people there. Before the relationship fully exploded, I had suspected that he had “feelings,” for other women he met online. He denied it of course, but then protected his phone to the point of acting suspicious and quite bizarre about it. He’d actually made plans to meet one of them at a convention we were going to. Oh, but I didn’t need to know, I only found out about it online. Moving forward a couple of months, I contacted him because I missed him, and I felt like we weren’t finished. I kept having all these beautiful dreams about him, whatever. He tells me he now has a girlfriend, her name is “tentative.” Aka one of the women I know he was pursuring after reading several tweets he sent to her before I left. Even though he sent these messages indicating an interest in her he denies ever having any feelings before I left. I don’t believe him. During the end of the relationship he started drinking pretty much every night, one night he snuck a bottle upstairs and then confessed to hiding it. But he didn’t stop drinking. I’ve had several addiction issues in my past but growing up both my parents were alcoholics, and my mom still is. This is one thing that he swore to me, he’d never ever do, and well he betrayed me in that. Alright so jump forward, I’m now living in an apartment he pays for. Part of a not court ordered spousal support tnat ends in April 2015. I don’t want to go back into anxother sexless, emotionally unstable relationship with him. I feel like in our relationship, we each ruined each other. But something he said a few weeks ago made me want to string myself up to swing in front of his eyes. He said that he believed he did nothing whatsoever wrong in the entire relationship. Lying was fine, calling me fat, stupid, ugly, useless, low-life, bitch, whore ect ect ect. All of the times when he was screming in my face. No fault? I’m lost now, stumbling around in the dark wondering, why couldn’t we be happy together? Why did we quit smoking for 2 years (3 as of Aug 24th for me) to watch him start up again after I left? Why after begging, pleading, threatening, screaming, asking, why can’t he be honest? He wants me to be, but he believes fully, that I must be too stupid to figure out that he did indeed have feelings, thoughts, emotions for this other woman. Why? If everyone is supposed to find love and be happy and kumbaya, why does he get to have that at my expense and shove it in my face. I admit I’m far from perfect, but when I discovered out, that how I acted & BPD were scarily similar, I was given pills, and told to go to this group. He didn’t want me to get help. He wanted to ignore me, play video games and make hundreds of videos about those games. All while claiming I didn’t support him in that. At that time, i wasn’t allowed to drive, so I never got that help. I self-helped. Stopped doing drugs, lost 60 lbs, nothing seemed to be good enough. Sorry I’m rambling. I’m just so emotionally charged and upset knowing that he threw me away. It’s like I mean nothing. So now, as I have slumped to one of the lowest points in my life, I’m shoving 8 T1’s down my throat evey few hours so I don’t have to feel, I’ve lost 3 jobs since leaving. The few people in my life that give a shit about me are worried that I’m going to end it all and I’m stuck wondering. Why? Why is it better to lie? Why do I still care about him, when he really doesn’t care about me? To further illustrate that point, I was recently in a car accident, under his insurance. I called him moments after the crash and he said, “I don’t care, pay me back when it’s over.” One day prior though he thought it was ok to ask me for money, which I loaned him. But why did he ask me?? Alright, so before I finish this, the one line where you say, we argued over, you not remembering things, flower, colour ect. My biggest why is, why is it that I have to support his gaming, his online friends, his whatever, but he in incapable of not ruining a fry pan? Not attempting to load the dishwasher half decent? Not remebering that he’d promised we’d spend tonight together? Always being late because he was ensuring that his priorities were more important because he made the money. I would really, if you’ve made it this far, wow! like some advice on this, thoughts? Comments? Mockery? Because I am a very shattered soul, and I don’ t want to feel so broken anymore. Thanks & Cheers
You just have to realize one of the biggest issues is parents and friends.
Who raised him.
Who raised you.
You have to love you.
Weightloss is a good goal. But with better fitness, strength.
You are who you are today. Be better, one step at a time.
Eat healthier. Walk more. You do NOT need to get tired,
in fact, make sure you do not. You will improve faster.
Eating, mainly reduce excess calories. More calories than
you need cause weight gain. Period. Complex carbs give
the easiest to use energy. That is straight out of
exercise physiology. All else is bullpucky.
Pick a skill or two to learn. Apply yourself. Get books. In time,
become expert. In time people will admire you and seek you
out to ask you about your skill. You will gain friends.
Next time, buy an all metal frying pan. It will always shine,
nothing will ever damage it. Do dishes in the sink for the challenge
of stacking them.
Value yourself, so everyone else can value you, too.