Alan's Story

“She was bipolar and had Borderline Personality Disorder. She was very erratic. I was a doting dad after our first child was born. I went back to school and got a diploma but she was doing drugs while I was at work. She started punching herself and gave herself a bruise on the right side of her chin. One of her older children told a teacher at their school what was going on at home. Child services came round to the house while I was at work. She told them I’d hit her and the bruise was from me. They took her and the children to a supposed “safe house”; it was where one of her drug dealer friends lived. I had an intervention order placed on me. I didn’t see my kids for months. I was suicidal. I called the police, explained the situation and asked him to help me get out safely with the kids. He told me to stop wasting his time. That same police officer arrested me in 2011 after I’d been attacked by her. ”

Alan is a father in his 40's living in QLD. This is his story in his words. Alterations have been made solely to preserve confidentiality.

“My whole story spans around 15 years. It includes a woman with severe mental health issues, who was repeatedly violent, yet I ended up with intervention orders.

There was also parental alienation.

We met at a party in 1999. I was 28; she was a couple of years older.

She had three children from a previous marriage.

It was never a healthy relationship, but I didn’t realise that for many years and when I did we’d had children together. We had five kids in the end.

There was always a lot of arguing.

One time we were driving her kids to see their father. I was trying to give her directions and she lost it. She was screaming, yelling and punched the steering wheel so hard she broke her own hand.

She was bipolar and had Borderline Personality Disorder. She was very erratic.

I was a doting dad after our first child was born. I went back to school and got a diploma but she was doing drugs while I was at work.

We were living on the poverty line. She kept saying she’d paid bills but I was being chased by debt collectors.

We were always broke and that was a huge driver for my anxiety.

Her self-harm escalated, there were violent outbursts, once she pulled a knife on me. I’d had martial arts training when I was younger and that kicked in, I blocked the knife.

Another time she threw a pan of boiling hot pasta sauce at me. The pan smashed a glass bowl that was sitting on the kitchen island. It shattered. Huge shards of glass went everywhere, narrowly missing our 18-month-old child. She could have died.

Sometimes she would head butt the cupboards. Her second eldest (not my child) and I would stand there and try to calm her down.

I realised he wasn’t coming home after school. Talking to him, I found out he didn’t want to come home and find her suicided on the floor so he stayed out.

One Wednesday in 2004 we were arguing about money. She started punching herself and gave herself a bruise on the right side of her chin.

One of her older children told a teacher at their school what was going on at home.

Child services came round to the house while I was at work.

She told them I’d hit her and the bruise was from me. They took her and the children to a supposed “safe house”; it was where one of her drug dealer friends lived.

I had an intervention order placed on me.

I didn’t see my kids for months.

I was suicidal.

I was so angry she could do this to me and to the kids.

My memory isn’t clear around this time.

A close friend came and knocked my door down. He found me lying in foetal position in my own mess. He said the last time he’d spoken to me was 7 days prior.

While I was literally lying in my own filth, she cleaned out our bank accounts.

I had no money, no job, I was done for.

We were trapped in a cycle where she’d talk me into getting back together. I wanted to believe she would go to rehab. I wanted us to be a family for the kids.

One New Year’s Eve she’d been out partying hard, taking all kinds of hard drugs. She attacked me when she got home.

I called the police, explained the situation and asked him to help me get out safely with the kids. He told me to stop wasting his time. He didn’t file a report. That same police officer arrested me in 2011 after I’d been attacked by her again – but I ended up in court.

She would yell and scream at our little kids at home. The abuse was full-on.

I knew I had no one on my side; even the police weren’t on my side. They had said to me, “You’re a violent man. We have no sympathy for violent men.”

I had 27 charges laid against me.

I ended up having a mental breakdown.

Then I called DIDS. I’m not exaggerating when I say they’re the reason I’m still alive today.

They helped me put together a parenting plan without the huge legal fees, which I just couldn’t afford.

Men need emotional support and practical solutions.

It’s thanks to DIDS that my kids now live with me. We’re still navigating ups and downs with their mother.

When sitting in circle at DIDS, I’ve seen many men break down.

Whoever holds the rock talks and no one interrupts or tries to give advice. They just listen. I’ve heard so many horrific stories from men who’ve ended up in living hell because of their female partners.

Sitting in those groups allowed me to hit rock bottom in vulnerability.

It’s saved my life – and changed my life.”

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