Please don’t ever think abusive men are heartless. They are not. I have heard their hearts breaking and their pain is real. Even more, perhaps, than the average man whose wife walks out on him. The abusive man works so hard to gain control over his wife he is shattered beyond belief when she gets away despite all he has done to ensure it won’t happen.
My heart bleeds for them sometimes. They swear they never hit her, never laid a hand on her, and I believe them. I believe they think you have to actually hit a woman to be an abuser. They cannot and will not believe she was as afraid of him as she claims. They think it was interfering relatives who did this. The relative convinced her to do this. She would never have left if not for the manipulation of her relative.
They can’t hear the truth of what they are saying. I have spoken it out loud to try and help them see what they are saying, what they think, what they believe.
It sounds like you think the only way your wife would leave you is if someone makes her do it. Yes, they say, that’s right. I ask if they think the wife is so weak, so easy to manipulate, so completely without in a will of her own that someone could make her do this to a man she loves and to her children. Oh, I don’t think she’s weak, they say. I know she is a strong woman. Strong enough to raise the kids alone.
They think she is strong but not strong enough to decide the course of her own life. Not strong enough to choose to leave – someone else made her do that!
They don’t see they are really saying “My wife is not a person – she is a puppet who can be controlled by pulling her strings and someone else is pulling them now instead of me”.
Abusive men get hit harder when their wives leave than other men. Other men get warned their wives are going. They get told face to face. They know where and when and how she goes. They have a phone number to reach her on if something comes up. They can pop by and see the kids.
The harder a man fights to cover all the bases and ensure there will be no escape the more savage the shock when escape happens. The prisoner takes nothing when she leaves and she gives no warning. She disappears so completely he is frantic. Was she abducted? Is she dead? Nobody knows what has happened or where she is. He can’t even find out if she is alive or dead.
The harder he tries to find her, get to her, the bigger the wall of people he runs into and the nastier they become towards him.
Abusive men have no idea there are so many things out there, so many people, so many institutions, so much power stacked up ready to beat him to a pulp the second she calls for help.
He knows, he KNOWS, all he needs is an hour or two alone with her and everything will be OK – she will come home and his nightmare will be over.
He is probably right. An hour or two will give him time to make promises, threaten her, convince her how wrong, how stupid, how unfair, how mean she is being to him, to the kids or to herself. In an hour he can make her see reason and do what is right – HIS reason and HIS version of right.
She knows he will convince her to come home. The people she turns to for help know it too and so does the law. That is why everyone conspires to make certain he does not get near her until she has had time to steel herself against his onslaught. Until the wounds he has inflicted on her self-esteem have had time to heal. Until she is no longer the bird with clipped wings and broken legs that he has turned her into.
When her wings and legs have healed, when she is strong enough to resist his attacks, his demands, and his manipulations, then she will face him. Then she will look him in the eye and tell him face to face without fear of his reaction or his power over her.
These men are living in a world that no longer helps them keep human possessions. A world that despises men who turn people into possessions. A world that will bend over backwards to help the possession get free.
There are safe-houses, people who will find her accommodation, transport out of the state if need be, lawyers, pensions, furniture – everything she needs to get away from him.
This is Australia and no woman has to stay with a man who does not treat her with respect.
Sooner or later love that is not respected dies and all that is left is a desire to get away. Sooner or later, in this culture, a way out will be found.
In some countries the law, the other people in society, and the traditions will help a man keep his wife’s wings and legs broken so she can’t get away.
Australia is not one of those countries. Any woman of any age, race, creed or culture has freedom the minute she asks for it. One phone call, one conversation, one request for help and all the forces of this society and it’s laws will swing into action to rescue her from his clutches.
I want to tell these men to open their eyes to the possibility nobody made their wife do this – they killed her love for him and she wanted out. I want to tell them to do something to make sure this will never happen again but they don’t want to hear.
They seek power over her, to control her, to make her do his will.
They plot and plan desperate measures to achieve that. They won’t entertain the idea they might need to change their definitions of love and abuse.
Restraining orders, breached court orders, broken laws will not get her back – they will result in more anger and frustration when he discovers just how much of societies power will swing in behind her to help her beat him.
He may get stuck unable to accept what has happened and spend, as one man has, the next 20 years wanting her back and desperately broken hearted about losing her. Unable to move on and unable to be happy. A changed and broken man who can’t sleep, can’t work, can’t get over the loss.
If he does get over her and find someone new he will go through the same thing again when he kills the new woman’s love for him and she finds a gap he never knew existed to escape through too.
I wish, oh how I wish, I could give them a book called “The verbally abusive relationship: How to recognise it and how to respond” by Patricia Evans. It would tell them exactly how they killed their wife’s love but they wouldn’t read it. I know that.
They will never believe they killed her love. They always blame interfering friends or relatives or some other man.
Their pain is massive but they will learn nothing from it and I find that incredibly sad.