Sex and the City: Husband under attack

My wife violently beats me up every night till the point I bruise. My nose has been broken once when she flung an object at me. There is no sex between us since we are married but we were quite active before marriage and had also gone for an abortion pre-maritally. I feel like a wimp taking all this violence but don’t know who to tell and what to do. A visit to a counsellor did not help as she can’t handle anyone showing her the mirror. She refuses to counsel. What should I do?

It’s completely understandable for you to want the violence to stop. You are not doing yourself any favours by letting the situation continue to be this way. As frightening, disorienting and upsetting as this is, don’t forget that you owe yourself a responsibility to protect your space.

The situation feels dire right now and that can be fully emphasised with. However, empathy is simply a starting point for what needs to be done. There’s a lot that needs to be done. It’s time to get organised.

Firstly, you are within your legal rights to want to involve the law at this stage if you are afraid that you are under a continuous threat. After all, being battered is both injurious to one’s body and sense of self-esteem. Have you considered escalating the matter by speaking to someone from your family or her family?

As embarrassing as this may be for you ‘as a man who’s being attacked by a woman’ – you must realise that only you can protect yourself from abuse. To be attacked physically is to be abused. There are no two ways about it. This has nothing to do with one’s gender. Abuse is abuse.

Should this continue and if there comes a point where you wish to end your marriage, it would be important for you to first talk to someone from your family to understand their reading of the situation. Maybe there’s something about your wife that they see that you have been unable to see so far? No fact must be dealt with in isolation.

At some point, it would be essential for you to gather proof that you are under physical threat if you do in fact decide to proceed with ending this marriage at some stage. A recording of a violent episode may come handy in such situations are even though that is technically a breach of privacy. A lawyer can help you with those details before it gets uglier than what it currently is.

What are your other solutions? Solution 1: Offer your wife a choice – either she stops this behaviour and finds a more functional way to express her disagreements or you decide to take permanent action against her to protect yourself. Solution 2: You speak to a lawyer and find a way to collect evidence of her abusive behaviour towards you and approach a court of law eventually for a divorce.

Solution 3: You get someone she loves, admires and ideally trusts to mediate the situation (not necessarily a counsellor, since she’s unwilling to go for therapy). Solution 4: You continue to accept this as your fate which would indeed be the most unfortunate option you can choose. What would you like to do?

Now, let’s flip the question a bit. Is it possible that the pre-marriage abortion you have mentioned in your question has led to your wife resenting you in some manner? Could her violence towards you be an off-shoot of her desire to exact a price from you or her way of punishing you?

Try and find an answer to these questions if you can. To call yourself a wimp is a tad harsh. Stay clear of labels. Labels only work when you are arranging jars filled with produce in your kitchen! The moment you label a person (in this case yourself) you are merely focusing on one attribute.

This is an over-simplication. People are a combination of many desirable and undesirable personality traits. Labels don’t help to solve problems. A wimp is classically defined as someone who accepts bullying and abuse as the norm. To stand up and take action against what is clearly harrowing and hurtful is a sign of courage.

In writing in, you have taken the first necessary step to address the problem. However, you must understand that no amount of text or advice is going to help you if you lay low and let the situation fester. You have to carefully plan about the next steps that you about to take. These are steps that only you can take for yourself.

The ideal solution is not always the happiest way forward. Happiness is both subjective and transient. It needs to be worked on. Know that whatever you choose for yourself, discomfort is going to be a big part of the experience that follows thereafter.

Either suffer your fate silently or suffer the discomfort that comes with confronting what’s clearly a problem that needs to be solved. I know it sounds pretty cut and dry but you are going to have to face the bitter truth (one way or the other). Choose wisely.

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