real life

'My husband is everyone’s favourite guy. Behind closed doors, he’s my worst nightmare.'

This story includes descriptions of domestic violence.

I’m half screaming into the abyss and half wanting something back, I guess. 

My husband is abusive. Verbally, emotionally, physically. And no one knows. He is the quintessential good bloke, everyone's favourite guy. So no one seems to notice when I have a black eye, a fat lip, or thinning hair from it being yanked out. We are the happy family that everyone admires. 

Except in reality, he doesn't love me. He tells me so. And then later he will tell me that he does, just that I don't stop, and I'm at him all the time. I'm a miserable nag who is terribly unhappy and is just bringing him down.

And I am unhappy. And I am probably chasing him, to try to find the man I married who would never dream of being deliberately cruel or making me bleed.

Watch: Controlling and possessive behaviours are abusive acts. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia.

I've done all the reading and listened to the self-help books and the podcasts. I understand that he won't change. I see the steady escalation over the years to the weekly verbal attacks, and fortnightly physical. He doesn't even apologise anymore. It's my fault. If he does apologise, it’s because he recognises that he shouldn't do or say those things. Not out of any actual remorse towards me. He even told our toddler yesterday that mummy was a c**t. And doesn't really think it's a problem, she doesn't understand, apparently. And I know that's not ok. I see now the way I've kept moving the goalposts:


He's not hurting me, he's just yelling and saying cruel things because he's angry. 

He was so worked up in the moment that he spat on me. It was only one time. 

He's not throwing things at me, he's just taking out his frustrations on innocuous objects. (Like my phone, gifts I've given him, my glasses).

He didn't mean to hit me with the phone/remote/plate he just threw across the room. If he ever raises a hand to me, I'll leave. 

He only pushed me, if he ever hits me, I'll leave. 

He only pulled my hair and grabbed my face, if he ever hits me I'll leave. 

He only hit me with an open palm, if he ever punches me I'll leave. 

He punched me and gave me a black eye. If he ever makes me bleed, I'll leave. 

I've had no major injuries that need outside attention. If that ever happens, I'll leave. 

And that's where I'm at currently. He punched me so hard in the back of the head a few months ago that he broke his hand. I thought maybe this was the moment for meaningful change. But no. Only while the cast was there a physical reminder I guess. Or maybe it was as simple as it would hurt him if he did anything and that put the brakes on. We're right back where we left off now though. Hair clumps and a fat, black lip. 

Sometimes I don't know what hurts more. The words, the bruises? Or the way he tells me to cover it up when we're going out to see anyone. The easily flowing lies around how they occurred that no one questions. He's the good guy remember? And yet I dutifully apply my make-up and make up stories to explain. I don't want anyone to think any less of him!


The irony is not lost on me, that I'm so concerned for his reputation, and his feelings. When he shows me no such courtesy when he tells me I’m fat, or ugly. (Always changed later - "I didn’t mean your appearance, it's how you are inside." Like that's better or easier to take.) Or stupid - "There must be something wrong with you!"

And yet I'm still here. I'm not leaving. I know I have to. That the only change I will see is of my own making. That it will be better for my kids, and for me. I honestly don't know anymore how much of it is because I still love him and just want him to stop being so horrible. I want the man who loved me, who thought I was beautiful. 

Or is it because I know I will lose my home, the home I had before him even, that I can't afford alone? And starting again, with nothing but debt at my age? The reality of being a frumpy middle-aged mum with no social life outside her kids, who will probably never get the opportunity to be loved just for who she is? Or is it the embarrassment of not living up to the ideal blended happy family everyone thinks we are?

The author of this story is known to Mamamia but has chosen to remain anonymous for privacy reasons.

If this has raised any issues for you, or if you just feel like you need to speak to someone, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service.

Mamamia is a charity partner of RizeUp Australia, a national organisation that helps women, children and families move on after the devastation of domestic and family violence. Their mission is to deliver life-changing and practical support to these families when they need it most. If you would like to support their mission you can donate here.

Feature Image: Getty.