I decided to post this email I got from “Julie”, because it’s not the first time I’ve heard of a husband being the victim of a wife’s abuse, and I was touched by the compassion she has for her brother, and feel for someone who not only has to deal with an abusive spouse, but also a court system that is probably skewed to believe a wife more than a husband because men tend to be more violent.
Dear Paul, Thanks you so much for the podcast. I know it means so much to so many of us out here for the basic message that we are not alone. I just finished the Dan Telfer episode and I’m not sure where to begin. I got to see Dan open for one of my other favorite comedian/podcasters this year and it was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen! It just goes to show that we all have secret battles in our heads. I always think that every performer I am impressed with MUST have it “all together.” It also makes me glad that my kids’ school has a zero-tolerance bullying policy. It’s a subject we talk about at our house a lot since our kids are in the minority at their school. We will continue to talk about this issue and support our kids as they get older. I feel really lucky now that the bullying stopped for me when I got to high school.
The other reason I am writing is because you have started to mention violence toward men recently. This is a topic I have been hoping you would be able to talk about since it has impacted my life greatly. I have a sweet, wonderful, funny, caring older brother that I have been pretty close to my whole life. It wasn’t a perfect relationship, but he is really a great person. He and I shared some similar interests and were very involved at our church growing up. (We were also lucky to grow up in an awesome non-judgemental church that taught us a lot about diversity and acceptance.) He is a caring father and adores his two daughters and was a full time parent for several years. That being said it is still very surprising to me all the things that have happened to him and to my family.
Simply put: He married the wrong girl.
I have a great deal of sympathy for her even though she has tried to destroy my family over the past 10 years. No child deserves the things she has had to go through. I’m not sure what all has happened to her, but it includes a parent’s suicide, emotional abuse, probably rape and an eating disorder. This is hard to type because I am also very afraid of her. I always have been. I’m afraid you would read this and she would hear it and launch some sort of attack against me or my family. That’s a lot of “what ifs” but she scares the shit out of me for reasons I can’t even articulate.
My big hearted brother has always been attracted to broken people. Maybe he felt less intimidated by someone who was younger and imperfect. They had a stormy relationship and during an especially stressful time he developed stress-related amnesia. I think that it was an actual “fugue state.” Nevertheless they got married less than a year later. My family was very unhappy about it since she was prone to lying, tantrums and arguments. Everything was DRAMA, something my family had not really gone through before.
We had our problems like any other family, but we were all there for each other and willing to talk stuff out our whole lives. Things went from bad to worse wither her trying to dictate every situation. My other brother decided that he would not put up with her manipulation and just removed himself and his family from any gatherings that included her which was stressful for the rest of us. I didn’t know what to do. I thought I could please everyone if I was just nice enough.
Eventually she had enough.
I don’t know what her motivation was but she saw an opportunity to get rid of my brother and staged an elaborate incident, accused my brother of trying to rape and kill her, and got him arrested. My brother had been brought up on charges for hitting her a few months before and they had separated, but she was still manipulating him even though they had a no-contact order in place.
She would use sex or the kids to get him to do whatever she wanted. Getting him arrested was the final nail in the coffin since our legal system tends to side with a mother and her children.
It’s very hard for me because I usually wouldn’t want it any other way, but my brother got majorly screwed by the legal system. Anyway that’s not even the half of it, but I know I’ve gone on too long.
For the last 5 years I have learned more about the justice system and the department of corrections than I ever wanted to know. I feel like I’m traveling in a foreign country without knowing the language. We have gone through hell as a family just trying to fend off false accusations, attacks, get my brother fair treatment, have visitation with his kids and to just out-last her venom.
What I am hoping to hear on the podcast is about men who have been emotionally and physically abused and the reaction they can have to that. From what I have seen even the most gentle and wonderful man can lash out physically if he has been abused long enough.
I’m trying not to ramble. Thank you to you and all your brave guests that have shared with us. Even little things like a free podcast can make a big difference in our lives.
Much love from the Midwest,
P.S. I hope to see your stand-up in person someday! Comedy has always been my saving grace!