It’s day 12 of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Edward shares his relationship history with two incredibly abusive women. The last of which left him when he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.
I met my then girlfriend sometime in the 80s, she was studying English here. We had a brief summer fling and then she returned to France. I promised I’d keep in touch and I did. She returned after graduating and after a while set up house together. Things went along fine for a few years and then we decided to get married and bought a house…
Things were a bit weird now and again but nothing too serious and then came along my daughter and not long after things started to get pretty weird, most of it was subtle at first with the odd fit of rage.
She took to going to parties and one night she told me she was going to a party in a friend’s house, I said no problem enjoy as I was going out with some other people and anyway the party was all French people so it didn’t really appeal to me. My few drinks ended early so I decided I’d go to the party and show my face. I arrived and the house was in darkness, so I left and went home. I quizzed her the next day about the party and she told me it was great and they were “dancing” until the small hours. I decided to ignore it, but this became a regular occurrence.
She disappeared to LA for a few weeks and she was to stay with some friends of mine. I enjoyed the quiet of the house. She arrived back and said she’d been terribly busy with work etc and enjoyed staying with Brian.
A couple of weeks later, my friends rang and told me she had arrived, stayed a day or two and disappeared. Brian went looking for her and found her in a hotel with some guy. Again I ignored this.
Then things went like “I was out last night so it’s your turn to get up and mind the kid” to “I was out last night so it’s your turn.” This was all very reasonable until both these reasons got lumped together and I never had a weekend lie-in. She had a full time job and I was self-employed, so I was around the house regularly. I dropped the kid to crèche and picked her up from crèche and fed her dinner.
Slowly, things got really weird in that if I had to go to a meeting she’d fly into a rage. I’d run away and hide in a bedroom, she’d come marching in and start screaming and shouting at me. I took to locking the bedroom door and sometimes she’d kick holes in the door, I’d repair it and it would happen again. I’d get attacked and have my hair pulled and have things thrown at me.
I invented a terminology for these episodes. I called them “the veil”, if the veil descended and the eyes went blank and lifeless I knew trouble was coming.
One night I was in minding the little one when I woke up with a pressing feeling on my chest, I opened my eyes to find a completely naked wife holding a huge carving knife in her hand lunging at me. I freaked out and ran away, I stayed with my brother for a few weeks but everybody persuaded me to go back and she swore it would never happen again.
Things started not too badly, but then the “parties” started again and the attacks. She became pregnant again, this time I was almost certain the child was not mine, but the attacks got worse and worse. I had lost it one night after a brutal attack again with a knife, I tried to subdue her by grabbing her wrists but she got away and to my eternal shame I tried to kick her. She called the cops and I was taken away…
I again started to sleep in my office and sometimes at my brother’s — anywhere I could really. Sometimes I even slept at home. This went on for months.
I guess I was lonely. I met a girl who seemed to understand and gave my sympathy and eventually we slept together…
I moved out and got a small apartment.
This drove the wife into a rage with endless phone calls “are you with that girl?” etc., arriving at the door at all hours and kicking the front door in and screaming and shouting outside.
One evening I was with girl #2 and her brother. We had a few drinks and went back to the apartment, they left about 10pm. At about 11pm or so the cops arrived at my door saying she had reported me for attacking her, I was taken away and shoved in a cell and brought up to the court in the morning. No evidence was permitted and I just had to take whatever the court decided.
I decided it was too dangerous to hang around the city so I moved to the mountains.
Eventually girl #2 followed me about 6 months later.
This was only the start of my problems…
Eventually the wife went back to France and applied for a divorce.
I actually breathed a sigh of relief. I missed my daughter terribly, but there was nothing I could do. I never really got to know daughter #2. I met her a few times when she was tiny.
I lived quietly in the mountains in a small cottage. It was nice, but very lonely.
Now this part is mainly conjecture. I’d previously had an attack of some sort, my back muscles went into spasm and I couldn’t move for nearly a week, I assumed it to be a slipped disk. My doctor told me it was just a spasm. During my time in the apartment, I suffered terribly from heartburn and reflux. I drank Maalox by the bottle.
Anyway girl #2 eventually moved in with me, she herself was recovering from some kind of nervous condition (perhaps a breakdown), so I said she could recuperate in the mountains. No need to draw pictures here. About a year later, she had a miscarriage and went to stay with her parents. Being young and single again, I went on a bender and tried to figure out a way of extricating myself from this mess. I hooked up with a “nice” girl for a couple of weeks.
Her brother rang me a few weeks later telling me it was disgraceful to let her go through this on her own, so I relented and let her come back. Anyway girl #3 was driving me nuts, so she had to go. I did this in as nice a way as I could think of and still stayed friends with her. She was/is more lesbian than hetero, so I figured there’d be no problem. She did say she’d get even.
No sooner was girl #2 in the door when she got pregnant again, so I made a conscious decision to settle down and make a go of this. I put away my doubts and went for it. My son was born and I was a happy dad again.
About 2 years later, along came another son. The eldest son was turfed out. Son #2 was her darling and son #1 was ignored and left for me to deal with.
Things plodded along reasonably, I was making some money and I was helping girl #2 to setup in business. I helped her with her translation business by providing lots of technical knowhow for terminology and computers etc.
She was always at me to buy a house…
Anyway another child came along and the birth was a comedy of errors as she decided to have a home birth.
In fairness she helped me finance and get my two daughters over, sometimes she paid for them. She also helped me speak to them as by this stage they barely spoke any English and also she seemed to believe that she was the reason I had split up from my wife. She did contribute a lot, but it was inevitable as I’ve outlined.
About this time, girl #3 (the lesbian) re-appeared and when she became very friendly again I had ominous thoughts.
We bought the house eventually and we moved in. I started to get problems with fitness, so I went mad on fitness. I trained 2 nights a week, but it wasn’t really helping.
I started having difficulties completing projects or forgetting to do certain things in my projects. This was starting to cause difficulties for those projects so much so that the contract was cancelled.
In 2006, on my way home from a meeting something exploded inside me, it was like a flat stone being dropped into water and making a “plop” sound, this was somewhere in my central core.
I’d be walking home and I’d blackout and fall over and recover and go on my way. The reflux slowly got worse, the cognition problems were terrible and I lost my main contract. I tried to get other contracts but I just couldn’t do them. I’d arrive back to the house covered in blood and I had no idea where it came from.
My GP examined me and decided this was a stomach problem, so I needed to go get an endoscopy. She had to pick me up from the hospital. On the way back from the hospital, she informed me that if I was sick I was out.
She came with me to get the results and they said there was nothing in the stomach except for a mild hernia. They ordered a series of more tests. A number of possibilities were outlined, but there were many tests to be done before any of the possibilities could be confirmed. She refused to bring me for the first of these tests, so they had to be cancelled.
All this time I experienced nausea and vomiting at regular intervals
She told me she wasn’t happy and she didn’t she why she should support someone that couldn’t support themselves.
Two months later one bank holiday Monday, she attacked me viciously and I had no option but to leave the house.
I broke down a week or so later, was diagnosed with “severe depression” and admitted to a psychiatric hospital. They obviously diagnosed the symptoms as psychiatric, translucent rectangles in my vision, the pins and needles and all the others were just repressed “anger”.
I was released from the hospital and a maintenance order arrived. She was looking for 1400 per month. I really had no idea what was going on (medically), but in the back of my mind I knew something serious had happened.
I struggled on for a year or so suffering outbreaks of nausea. Then the reflux got much, much worse and the falling down got more severe. The GP said I had carpel tunnel syndrome and then a hernia. I was starting to have difficulties walking. I saw more specialists than you can shake a stick at…
The hernia consultant laughed at me, however. His young assistant was not so dismissive and gave me a full neurological exam and told me I needed to see a neurologist as soon as possible. He got a verbal slap from his consultant and was told not to interfere, but he persisted.
I went to my GP and told him what the young doctor had said. He examined me and said I think you have Multiple Sclerosis, then the fun started. I had no job, so I had to go public. All told, I waited over 2.5 years to get an MRI. When the results came back they told me there were lesions in my brain and there was a huge “inflammation” on my spine and it was 90% sure it was MS. The damage had been done 10+ years previously.
Three months later I had an attack. I was admitted to hospital where they did final tests and proclaimed it as Primary Progressive MS. In reality, this was a fairly quick diagnosis.
So in synopsis, I suffered horrendous abuse at the hands of my first wife. I was regularly beaten up and attacked with all sorts of implements, yet she was the victim. Yes I understand I reacted once.
#2 seems to meet all the conditions of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, to my mind anyway, including enormous amounts of emotional and physical abuse along with being left to die so she could be “happy”. Recently she said she felt no guilt about throwing me out.
Most of the medical descriptions are a common enough course for PPMS however I had the added complication of an unusual symptom nausea and vomiting (brain stem syndrome).
In His Own Words/In Her 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.
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.
“Eventually the wife went back to France and applied for a divorce.
I actually breathed a sigh of relief. I missed my daughter terribly, but there was nothing I could do.”
Where I live it takes both parents signatures to have a child leave the country.