Hidden Hurt Domestic Abuse Information

Thomas' Domestic Violence Story

Thomas was an abused man, yet nobody seemed to take the idea that he was a male victim of domestic violence seriously. Here Thomas tells his domestic violence story for others to be able to understand:

Here is my true story and I'm lucky to be alive to tell it. I am convinced that the reason I've survived is that God, in his love for me, cared for and protected me through dire situations. I always believed in God, but I did not always make Jesus my Lord. I did not always stay on the path. In my early adulthood, I was a quite a hedonist.

I was twenty years old when I first met Betty. She was eighteen; our eyes locked and it was love at first sight. We became an item that night and about four weeks later we moved in together. This was the start of a relationship that lasted thirty-two years. We weren't physically together all that time but emotionally we were never apart.

After about eighteen months we had a child and named him Derek. We didn't plan this, but despite opposition from family we became devoted and doting parents. Betty became unwell shortly after the pregnancy and had a cervical cancer scare. She was advised not to risk another pregnancy.

Betty always had an unpredictable and spirited personality, but I and most of our friends thought it was one of her endearing charms. A few months after Derek was born, Betty's endearing spirit started to turn scary. I was no angel, but in a passive way. I abhorred violence and was an unashamed pacifist.

At first, she discouraged me from seeing old friends, especially female friends. She threatened to use violence against them. For example "If so and so visits here, I'll be putting a knife in her guts."

She was always pressuring me to obtain additional finances through borrowing, and even though we had enough money, she used to waste money on unnecessary items. It made me feel inadequate because I believed I couldn't keep her in the style that she thought she deserved.

She would flirt with my friends, but then tell me that they were trying to seduce her behind my back. This left me feeling distrustful of my friends. Later on, I found out that she had been telling them that they shouldn't come round because I was insanely jealous. All this had the effect of damaging my social network.

After Betty had threatened me with a knife on more than one occasion, and I'd successfully ducked missiles, she finally got her aim right one morning and hit me with a bowl about one centimetre from my eye. I turned up to work that morning with blood-stained clothing and had to explain my fragile situation. It was then I finally realised that our paths must take different directions. I left that night with a heavy heart, for I adored Derek and was very concerned for his welfare.

I remained very good friends with Betty's mother and saw Derek as often as possible. There was initial animosity between Betty and me and it took some time for us to return to mutual good terms. To see Derek, I would either pick him up at Betty's mum's place, or she would drop him at my sister's place, where we would spend weekends together. Derek was about one year old at this time.

About six months after we split, Betty was again living with her mother. This was about a five minute walk away from where I was sharing a flat with a mate. Betty visited our flat one night and was warmly welcomed. I had a new girlfriend at the time who was with me that night. As I was letting her out at the door, Betty asked me to get rid of my girlfriend as she wanted to stay and talk about our future. Of course, I refused. I went back to the couch to sit with my girlfriend, when five minutes later a large rock came flying through the closed window, narrowly missing us but showering us with glass. This was not a bad effort as we were in a second storey flat! My flatmate jumped up and saw Betty running away. I think this was when I realised Betty's propensity for real violence.

Most of our friends, even though shocked at the potential of someone getting seriously hurt, had a good laugh at Betty's latest escapade.

Betty didn't really want me, but she didn't want anyone else to have me either. This was evident many times over the next twenty or so years. Every relationship I got into, Betty would do her best to interfere.

Eventually Betty met a man with whom she began a long-term relationship. They had a child when Derek was six years old. They were together for twenty or so years. During that time we regularly saw each other because of Derek. I also remained very good friends with Betty's mother. Betty's new partner, Rupert, often confided in me about Betty's erratic behaviour. He had at least one trip to the hospital after she'd slashed his arm open. I saw the scar; it went from his bicep to just above his wrist.

During this time I met and married Megan. We had two daughters and were together for eleven years before she fell out of love with me. For the next six years I remained single and devoted my spare time to Derek and my daughters.

After Betty's mother died, Betty kicked her younger son (Jerry) out of home; he was just seventeen. Rupert couldn't abide this so he moved out as well to be with Jerry. Betty regularly rang me and we'd talk for hours, usually about nothing. She was inviting me to visit her but I resisted the temptation. One day I succumbed but said I'd only meet her for dinner. After the dinner I was walking her home and we stopped and kissed; it was like we'd never parted. This was the beginning of what started as a dream but ended as a nightmare.

We were together for about three months of relative happiness when one night Betty said to me that if I loved her I'd marry her. I wasn't that keen, but to avoid confrontation I said yes and plans began. When I told my daughters they said they were pleased I'd found someone to be with, but why Betty? I couldn't answer this then; still can't. It was for all the wrong reasons: memories of our very early romance; guilt because I'd got her pregnant when she was only 19 (she'd keep reminding me of this); a strange feeling of responsibility for her (misguided loyalty to her mother's memory). Pity. Sex. Music. Shallow romance.

We married on her 44th birthday. Derek was best man.

After the wedding the nightmare began. Betty seemed to think that a marriage license gave her the right to say or do anything to me. I suppose she thought I'd never leave. Apart from the occasional belt in the head, she began a tirade of abuse about my daughters, family and ex-partners. I met my daughters one day to go to the pictures (Betty was supposed to come). I had a cut and bruise over my eye. They asked how I got it, and I said I'd walked into a door. They commented I'd been running into too many doors lately. I couldn't stop thinking, "Is this what I've come to, lying to my children?"

I left Betty soon after that and was staying with my mother. Then I got the opportunity of living in the country. Betty was still contacting me and I thought that if I could get her out of the environment of the city it could be the catalyst for a new and more peaceful life. She accepted my proposal and we went to live in a remote rural community, but we did have an established friendship base.

It didn't take long for her to resume the abuse. On many occasions I asked her to leave or get help, but to no avail. There were always tears and threats of suicide, and recrimination and threats against my family.

Whilst living there I was diagnosed with hepatitis C which I'd obviously had for many, many years. My health started to deteriorate and I was referred for treatment but this was (correctly so) denied, as I needed to be in a supportive environment before embarking on the treatment - which was 48 weeks of heavy-duty drug therapy.

To address the domestic abuse (and thereby get me ready for Hep C treatment) I was referred to counselling. This was of enormous benefit. Betty was also offered help, but flatly refused because (in her words) "I don't need help." Our friends' visits were becoming less frequent and I spent most of my time outdoors. I made friends with God's creatures such as birds and frogs. I had a sheep called Ricky who I'd nurtured since his birth when his mother unfortunately died. I prayed a lot and nearly every night went outside to marvel at the stars. I never returned inside until I'd seen a shooting star. I always imagined that this was a sign that I was in God's care.

Betty seemed to be coming more unstable and afraid of leaving the house or being in wide open spaces. (Her mother had suffered from agoraphobia until she died housebound at the age of 70.) I tried to encourage her to come on walks with Ricky and me. Yes, I took Ricky on walks with a lead. Even though the locals were surrounded by thousands of sheep, it was a real novelty seeing a sheep on a lead!

Betty spent every day drinking cheap wine and every night was becoming more and more unpredictable. She always wanted me to drink with her and even though I liked a drink or two, the doctor had told me, in Betty's presence, that because of my hepatitis C any continued drinking would kill me. It seemed to enrage her even more when I wouldn't drink with her. I would comply on occasions, just to make life more bearable, but it usually only made things worse.

After she'd threatened to stab me in my sleep, I'd moved into the spare room and used to barricade it. She'd break the panels of the door. One night she said, "I'm glad your bed is under the window. I'll throw a rock through it and hopefully a piece of glass will pierce your heart." I moved the bed to the far side of the room!

I erected a tent at the rear of the property and left it there permanently. It was a pleasant refuge in warm weather where I could stargaze and go to sleep in peace. (Betty wouldn't go out at night.) The tent eventually deteriorated in the elements and ripped apart in a wind storm.

I told one doctor my partner was beating me up and he said, "We get a lot of gay people being subject to domestic violence now days." It seems he couldn't conceive of a man being victimised by a woman, therefore I had to be gay!

One day Betty put methylated spirits in my water bottle. I didn't swallow any but it sure left a nasty taste in my mouth. I lived in fear, frustration and impotence about what to do.

I had to go to hospital to have a stent put in for kidney stones. For days after the operation I was passing blood in my urine. While I was in this delicate situation, after a particularly nasty verbal tirade, I said to Betty, "Do you realise you are about to lose one of the best friends you've ever had?" She replied that she knew, that she was sorry and she cried. The very next night, though, whilst I was cleaning my teeth, she ambushed me. I was retreating backwards and fell into the empty bath. She grabbed a large piece of pottery and smashed it into my chest. Every time I tried to get up she'd push me down again. Eventually I got out of the bath. I think she let me get out, because as soon as I did she pushed me to the floor and started kicking me in the ribs. The result of that assault was a fractured sternum and two cracked ribs. After I extricated myself from that situation, somehow overcoming her rage and sitting on her, Betty eventually passed out.

I took some strong pain killers, got some sleep, packed my bags and left at daylight. I haven't seen Betty since. I don't know how I managed to drive to her sister's place 100 km away. She took me straight to hospital where the fractures were diagnosed. I've been under medical treatment ever since.

I felt alienated, dispossessed, lonely, a failure. For the next three months I stayed with family and friends in various places. So many friends questioned, criticised and lectured me about how could I have let it happen? These were the last things I needed. I actually left one "friend's" place after enduring a night of "good-intentioned" drunken advice - it was no more than more verbal abuse. When I left he cried and said "Why do I always hurt the one's I love?" And yet when I later tried to resume the relationship, I was apparently the one at fault.

My health continued to deteriorate and, after various medical investigations, my health problems were traced back to Hepatitis C. After a further six months of preparation I was accepted for a 48 week treatment. They figured I was now in a sufficiently safe environment to face the ghastly side effects of Hep C treatment.

Whilst growing up I witnessed domestic violence many times. It started with my mother being bashed by her de-facto (even though he was jailed twice for assaulting her, she still took him back). I've witnessed my sister being abused by her boyfriend. I have physically restrained one of my sister's boyfriends, but in the end I was the one who had to spend the night at a motel, having been kicked out. I hit another over the head with a bottle one night when he wouldn't stop kicking my sister whilst she was on the ground. He then bashed me, my sister took him to hospital, whilst I was left to lick my wounds. It's funny how after that he said he a lot more respect for me: he always thought of me as a wimpy pacifist, but by belting him over the head with a bottle I had "acted like a man". To me that is a very sad indictment of the society we live in.

I've come into contact with many women who were subjected to physical and mental domestic abuse. Without being judgemental, I'd always wondered how anyone could endure such things. I've always had an abhorrence for violence and even at school one of my nicknames was Peace. I began this story with my own entrapment in abuse because I wanted to emphasise the lack of understanding on my part and the general community. In other words, though I had been exposed to much abuse before Betty, I'd never really understood the dynamics and how it affects the victim.

I think I always knew that I was a victim of domestic violence, long before Betty came along. You see, just being exposed to it in many different circumstances from as long as I can remember has never inured me. To this day, I shudder when I witness, read, hear, or recall domestic violence in any of its ugly forms. I can have flashbacks of the things I've witnessed and endured. However, with Betty I realised I was a victim of abuse early on, but chose to remain for whatever legitimate or illegitimate reason I had. To this day I say to myself "What were you thinking?"

I told one doctor my partner was beating me up and he said, "We get a lot of gay people being subject to domestic violence now days." It seems he couldn't conceive of a man being victimised by a woman, therefore I had to be gay!

It has been hard being male when you are expected to be the stronger of the species. I've had comments such as "So - you're gay!" (Implying that if you let that happen to you, you can't be a real man, so you must be gay.) Another doctor said, "She must be a really big woman, and stronger than you." (Implying that size and strength confers the right to bully.) One of my male friends said, "You're too weak with your women!" I no longer count him as a friend.

I will not apologise for being a so-called wimp. I chose not to hit Betty because I don't believe in hitting women; and because of Jesus. On the other hand, no one under any circumstances should be subjected to any form of abuse.

There were many times while I was living with Betty when I'd be on the phone to female friends or my sisters, and Betty would begin fondling me or even giving me fellatio. It was belittling, and demeaning, and made me very angry. I couldn't show my feelings about what she was doing without alerting the person on the other end of the phone. I'd have to end the phone call by saying "I have to go now." After I hung up she would stop. I very soon came to realise that this was another form of control, possessiveness or even sexual assault, because it was never encouraged on my part. She just didn't want me on the phone to other people.

No wonder I decided I wouldn't be going into another physical relationship unless it began with true friendship and there was emotional, spiritual, philosophical, and intellectual - physical compatibility.

After I left Betty, whether it be because of courage or necessity, I felt hopeless. I was in so much pain physically and emotionally I was basically in survival mode. As far as some close friends and family were concerned, I can only sum up my feelings by betraying the fact that I didn't fit into their mould of a real man, and I'm proud of that.

I've now made Jesus my Lord and have followed him fully in the last few years. My turbulent past makes a lot more sense now, now that I've realised that God had a special plan for me, and for anyone who will let Him into their heart. Although the memories of Betty sometimes still haunt me, I have more peace now than I've ever had before.

P.S Two years after I left her, Betty died alone in her flat, with just her dog for company. I attended her funeral not only out of respect for our son but also to make sure she'd really gone. That's not entirely being facetious, I actually imagined that it could have been a conspiracy to get her hands on me. So even though I'd left her, I had still been living under the shadow of the terrible scourge that is domestic violence.

PPS I'm happy to say that I'm now happily married to a beautiful Christian woman who also suffered domestic abuse in a former marriage. She also probably thought that another relationship could be fraught with danger, but by the grace of God we found each other and have perfect understanding of each other's pasts.

* all names have been changed and identifying details removed

~ Thomas.

Return from Thomas' Domestic Violence Story to Domestic Violence Stories

In This Section:


Domestic Violence Stories
Abigail's Story
Allison's Story
Amelia's Story
Anna's Story
Ava's Story
Becky's Story
Belinda's Story
Bonnie's Story
Carla's Story
Charlotte's Story
Christine's Story
Claire's Story
Daisy's Story
Danna's Story
Donald's Story
Emma's Story
Evie's Story
Faith's Story
Family of Victim Story
Fran's Story
Freya's Story
Gemma's Story
Giulia's Story
Harriet's Story
Hannah's Story
Hidden Talents
Ingrid's Story
Isabelle's Story
Jay's Story
Jeanne's Story
Joanne's Story
Julie's Story
Kiara's Story
Kirsty's Story
Lacy's Story
Lash's Story
Lisa's Story
Lorna's Story
Louise's Story
Mandy's Story
Margaret's Story
Mark's Story
May's Story
MP's Story
Nadya's Story
Nola's Story
Orla's Story
Portia's Story
Rachel's Story
Renee's Story
Rhia's Story
Sadie's Story
Sarah's Story
Selena's Story
Shelley's Story
Tanya's Story
Tiffany's Story
Thomas' Story
Valerie's Story
Varda's Story
Vella's Story
Zena's Story

Related Pages:

Domestic Violence Poetry
Submit your own Story
Children witnessing DV

Recommended Reading:

While the statistics quoted in this book can be misleading, there is a real need to recognise those men who are the victims in abusive relationships, and this book goes a long way to giving male victims of domestic violence a voice and the assurance that they too are deserving of help, support and understanding. Abuse, no matter who perpetrates it against whom, is wrong:

To order in the US: Abused Men: The Hidden Side of Domestic Violence

To order in the UK: Abused Men: The Hidden Side of Domestic Violence

Many people suffer verbal and emotional abuse in secret for years, not really understanding what is happening or why they feel so rotten. Nor do they realize how easily such seemingly mild forms of abuse can be the precursor to physical violence. This book by Patricia Evans helps the victim understand how to recognize abuse, validates the victim's perception of what is happening and offers solid suggestions as to what to do to control abuse and to protect oneself :

To order in the US: The Verbally Abusive Relationship: How to recognize it and how to respond

To order in the UK: The Verbally Abusive Relationship, Expanded Third Edition

Click on the donate botton below to support Hidden Hurt. Thanks you.

UK National Domestic Violence Freephone number 0808 2000 247


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