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PTSD Light at the end of every tunnel. You might just need to crawl through the dark to get there.
Eight years ago I was recovering from an assault and suffering from Chronic PTSD and had been medically discharged from the police. I met I young lady who came across as caring and we started seeing each other. It wasn't long and she had moved in with me and then she suggested that when I had sold my house I should move from Lancashire to Cheshire. The reasons she gave made sense and I did. I was a member of the masons and I was about to transfer my membership to a local lodge and she said she didn't want me to because of her beliefs about the freemasonry. I tried to explain that her views weren't a true reflection of the organisation but she insisted that I should not transfer but leave. I compromised and said ok I will join a local magic club as I had been practising card magic for some time as part of my therapy for PTSD.
When I started to search for a club she started to find reasons I couldn't do that. Every suggestion I made about what I wanted to do on my own was meant with a variety of reasons why I couldn't. I was now isolated in a new county away from my family, I had no friends and unable to go out alone.The physical and emotional abuse started to escalate. If I asked to go out alone even to the shops I would have accusations made that I was being unfaithful and unreasonable because I wanted to got out alone, these would be very extreme reactions. Eventually this included physical violence as well.
We had a beautiful daughter who she also neglected and abused physically and emotionally. This escalated over the last 5 and a half years the phychological scars are still there with my daughter and she has been through therapy and had a lot of support from family and various agencies. I will never be told what she diclosed to the therapist all I know is what she tells me. The therapist has said she will probably never tell everything that happened to her and no one will no the full extent of what her mother did to her. The trauma was so bad she could function through out the day she became anxious is seperated from me and would say she was scared of her mother coming back and hurting us again. She would continualy soil herself. Thankfully she has worked hard in therapy and with her child support worker from ARCH a domestic violence charity. I am very proud of her and she is an amazing child.
My wife slowly managed to take over every area of my life and had total control. She managed to stockpile Diazepam I had been prescribed and some she persuaded her GP to prescribe her but she never took them. In addition to that there were fentanyl patches, tramadol setraline or venaflexine plus other drugs that caused sedation.
She would spend all our money on a pony and leave us with little or no food. I would be kept sedated whilst she would go out to the pony saying she would be half an hour. she then returned several hours later.
She would ease of the medication if she wanted to go anywhere so I could drive her. I would often then be left in the car for several hours whilst she did what she wanted or visit her friends or family. She would say I was to ill to leave the car.
The violence would happen spontaneously often during the night. I would wake up suddenly in pain and needed hospital treatment on several occasions for several suspected broken bones and on one occasion required surgery because a piece of the bone in my nose was snapped off. She would say I had done it too myself in my sleep. This excuse raised concerns from some doctors but I didn't know what was going on because of the drugs she was giving me.
I later found out she was sending abusive texts to other people through the night as well as abusing me.
This went on for many years. Slowly my family started asking questions. Twelve months before I started taking positive action I broke down at my parents she was there. She had reduced my drugs but hadn't expected us to be there as long we were. I started saying I couldn't cope with it and ended up running away and hiding. My parents wanted to call the police but she refused saying there was no need and ended up taking me home refusing me any medical intervention.
Unknown to me my parents contacted my GP who refused to listen and my parents didn't know what else to do. Over the following twelve months I was kept inside my home sedated the majority of the time. Only going out on rare occasions and then staying in the car. One of my sons started to ask questions as did my parents. Why when they contacted me were they told I couldn't come to the phone because I was asleep or didn't want to. They started calling at all times of day and during the evening but got a similar response on most occasions.
I went to my parents one weekend and my daughter was staying with them. My wife went in before me, I was still in the car. She walked straight up to my daughter started shouting at her about the toilet. She grabbed her arms and pulled her down some stair into the bathroom. I walked into the house to hear my daughter screaming and here mother shouting.
My second son came to live with me and he saw what was happening. He was 17 and took positive action that caused everything to come out.
One morning she was shouting and screaming at me. She was saying she was going to take my daughter and I would never see them again she was going to end it. As she said this she had got my medication and was popping the pills from the packet and taking them. We later found all the tablets in the kitchen she had been pretending. My Son witnessed this and said his step sister wasn't going to witness this and said he was taking her to the park.
She called the police on 999 and said he daughter had been abducted. I managed to get onto the police and explain what had happened. I knew they would have to attend because it would be classed as a domestic incident. All I could say when the police entered the room was, "Please put a report in to social services" They attended late afternoon that day.
She was told to go to a relatives for the day but could return later that day which she did and things got worse.
The following morning I made an appointment with my GP. I had decided I was going to tell them everything. I had never seen a doctor alone before, as she insisted on being with me. She could put on a great act of being a caring wife and mother when she needed. I knew she wouldn't let me go alone so I made the excuse I was taking my son to the doctors. She saw through it and went crazy. She grabbed my daughter and swung her across the hallway into the living room. I would never support any aggressive behaviour, but on this occasion my daughter fought back she kicked screamed and pushed past her mum and ran to me I got her into the car with my son and we drove off. It is 3 miles to the doctors, I stopped in a lay by half way there to speak with the social worker. My son suddenly said she is here. She was chasing is on a push bike in a pair of jeans and pyjamas. We drove off again and got to the doctors and the police attended. You would like to think that would be the beginning of the end.... Sadly I had to work in a system that doesn't help male victims as well as is needed. It was the start of a fight to protect my daughter from her, some members of her family, burglary, harassment and a sexist system.
After telling the police, I went on to tell my G.P. and the social worker what had been going on. The initial response from social services was they were sceptical of me being a male victim. It wasn't until a different social worker from the assessment team came to assess me. When she attended she saw first hand that I was a victim and needed help. Initially my wife refused to leave the room, as the social worker tried to explain she should leave me to speak on my own. She slowly became more abusive and intimidating. She said she didn't want to leave because I would tell the social worker what she had been doing. Eventually the social worker got her to leave and did and assessment. I didn't qualify for support but she asked about what she had just witnessed and I told her the full extent of the abuse towards me and my daughter.
She gave me details of a charity called Arch who could help me. she described the look on my wife's face and her attitude as evil. Some people who have seen her when she has behaved like this compared the way she looked to the famous picture of Myra Hindley, saying she looked evil.
I have dealt with many cases of domestic abuse during my career in the police. I would always say make a complaint and follow it through. When it came to me being in the same situation I didn't follow my own advice. Looking back I made a big mistake. Why didn't I follow my own advice? I think there were a few reasons.
1. Initially I thought I could help if she got help.
2. I had been given so many drugs I couldn't think straight.
3. I felt isolated and scared not knowing which way to turn.
These weren't really excuses I needed help and suddenly I was alone and not knowing what to do for the best.
Over the following few weeks she returned back home to try and sort things out. She would say she was going to get help but as soon as she came home she would say she didn't need help and the abuse would start again worse than ever. The final straw came when one morning I woke up and it started as soon as I woke up. Not physical, but emotional and psychological abuse. There was a meeting that morning where a family support working was going to be introduced to the case by the social worker. My wife wanted to make sure I was in no position to engage with them in the meeting. I was asked to leave the meeting and let them speak with the mother. When the meeting ended I wasn't in a good way, all I knew was it had to stop. I broke down and said I wanted her to leave I couldn't cope with the abuse any longer. She left.
Initially my wife would see her daughter for a few hours at weekends. But she had members of her family come to our home and be abusive and on occasion violent and we had the police attend.
I went to see a solicitor. I was eligible for legal aid because I was a victim of domestic abuse. But the system is crazy and I needed to pay a silly amount to the legal aid board. I initially applied for a Non Molestation order ex parti. The judge read the information and said that the abuse was so bad he wasn't going to give the order for six month, which the solicitor had asked for but would make an order for 12 month. Basically we would be protected for 12 months my wife wasn't allowed to come near us or contact us in person or by a third party.
The procedure is that after an ex parti order is made all parties should attend court to sort out the final order. That was the first time I would have to see her. My solicitor arranged a room so I didn't have to wait in the main waiting area. It was an experience I will never forget. She turned up with an elderly relative. The judge called everyone into court she refused to go. Eventually the judge agreed she could stay out. I was asked a few questions and we left the court. It wasn't long before we were called back in for the order to be made. I was looking through the window of the side room and saw the elderly relative hold of one arm, the solicitor hold of the other trying to encourage her through the door to go to the court room. she started to struggle and ended up wedging herself against the door frame fighting with the men. Eventually the judge said she wanted her in the court to explain the severity of the order against her. The order was to stand but she was going to be allowed to speak with her daughter on the phone six nights a week at a given time.
During this time I referred myself to Arch and a Male Domestic Violence Support Worker was allocated to me. Also Child in need meetings had started. Before Dave the domestic violence worker started to attend I was me and various female representatives from various agencies. school, health, and social care. At this point none of the agencies would accept I was a male victim except for the School nurse.
The abuse continued she would continually hurt her daughter over the telephone demonstrating bizarre behaviour. It was so intense my daughter would soil herself and breakdown after each phone call. She would cry and shake with fear and ask if she had to talk to her
Finally attended a meeting the order was in place and I had the support worker to help me. I wish I could say that things started to work out. In the first meeting we were told that the family support worker wouldn't be working with me and my daughter but with the mother also she had other agencies visiting her on most days of the week. I couldn't understand how the offender was given all the help and I was lucky if I saw the social worker.
It didn't last long as it was found she was giving lip service to social services. All the support was withdrawn. I was never seen as a threat or risk to my daughter or any child yet some agencies went out of their way to paint me as inadequate at caring for my daughter. At each meeting I was accused of not caring for my daughter because I sent her to school in a jumper that was to big. I spoke to other parents who all told me they bought jumpers to big at the start of the school year. But it was not good enough. On one occasion an allegation was made that my daughter was violent in school in the period between the Child in need meetings. Luckily I had had a meeting with the class teacher who had said she was so pleased that my daughter never showed any signs of violence towards anyone. So I asked them to tell the meeting about the incident and what happened and when. The agencies first response was "It is in the file" they then said there was a lot in the file so it would take time to find. I knew there wasn't that many notes in the file from the previous meeting. The agency eventually said there was one incident over twelve month earlier where she kicked a child. I refused to allow the meeting to progress until this was rectified. The agency didn't like being challenged and liked it even less when they were wrong and could have potentially labelled an innocent child as violent. You would expect most people to apologised. That didn't happen they claimed I was aggressive and potentially violent because I was upset and stood my ground. I was dangerous because I have PTSD.
I could list more incidents like this but eventually it was accepted by most that my daughter and I were victims it was helped by Arch and the school nurse who had disclosure from my daughter about abuse towards both of us.
After approx twelve month the case was closed because it was accepted we were both victims and that Georgina wasn't and isn't at risk and that the risk was the mother who had no contact. But during one meeting I was told by a member of the Child in Need meetings that "I would not have had to deal with all I had if I had been female"
What can I say in response, not a lot I have found that male victims have to prove they are victims where females are accepted as victims. It shouldn't be a case of abuse against men is wrong or domestic abuse against women is wrong. What narrow minded individuals and some agencies need to accept is Domestic abuse is wrong.
It is nearly two years since this new journey started to me and my daughter to a new life. What can I say My daughter has had some therapy and some teachers have been amazing. Scouting has been amazing and I have met and made some good friends. They all know who they are, although I received an email after I did the first part from someone who offered support yet they had been a great support all along. I still come up against some parents who cant accept what they have seem, but I don't feel any need or compulsion to associate with people of that mind set.
If there are other men out there suffering from abuse, all I can say is there is a way out and help is available. Just keep chipping away and you can get through the obstacle.
If you are suffering from domestic abuse no matter what your gender....Take action.....Make a formal complaint to the police and use all the resources around you
Thank you for sharing this <3 I wish you and your daughter all the best and much happiness in the future x
You can write about anything that is important to you – your whole life, personal trauma or events that have affected you in the past.Share Your Story
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