Joe experiences abuse after 50 years of marriage
Joe's wife has mobility problems that trigger abusive behaviours. He doesn’t know what to do.
Joe called the Men’s Advice Line after a friend advised him to. He was nervous about the call and didn’t know what to expect. Joe explained to the Advisor that he and his wife, Valerie, had had a very happy marriage for 50 years; they had raised children and had grandchildren whom they loved dearly. Over the last year, Valerie started drinking a glass of wine before bed. Joe noticed that this rapidly began to increase and within 5 months Valerie was drinking a bottle a day. Joe felt that this was Valerie’s way of dealing with her recent decrease in mobility, which meant that she could not walk for long and needed support from Joe with getting around.
Valerie began spending more and more time in the house. She would shout at Joe, ordering him to help her complete tasks. If she felt he was taking too long, she would often strike him when he came back into the room; sometimes this would be with her hand, other times with any object that was within her reach.
Joe was sad for Valerie and felt that as her husband it was his duty to support her. He was also feeling useless as Valerie would often tell him that he was worthless. Every time he told her how she made him feel, she would tell him that he was weak and should grow a backbone. Joe suggested that they could get some help, as the physical demands were putting a strain on him. Valerie would then cry and tell Joe that he didn’t love her. She also threatened to kill herself if he got outside help. Valerie started to push away other family members and threatened Joe about telling anyone about the abuse or her drinking.
Joe was conflicted about calling the Men’s Advice Line at first, but he gradually began to feel more at ease. Above all, he was relieved that he wasn’t being judged or made to feel guilty. The Advisor gave him contact details for a local domestic abuse service that worked with men. Joe was happy that he wasn’t expected to make a decision on the call and had time to think about what he wanted to do. He eventually found a support service for Valerie and he moved out of the home. He was given support from his local service and from friends and family.