false abuse accusations in divorce

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Recently, my wife asked me to visit a friend in another state so we could have some time apart to reflect on our ailing, short marriage. We have both been under a tremendous amount of pressure from outside our marriage; death of a parent, auto accident and resulting injury, job loss, moving, moving away from children, previous divorce etc etc...18 things of like magnitude to be exact. I noticed my wife becoming depressed and increasingly distant from me for about 2 months. Her suggestion to gain some perspective seemed like a positive attempt on her part to save our marriage, the first action she has ever suggested to do so. So I thought it was a good idea to grant her wish and do some reflecting. Four days after I left, I retrieved a phone message from her lawyer stating that my wife had filed for divorce. Completely blindsiding me. We had no discussion, counseling or attempt to address any problems. In fact, the reason I leftwas so we could identify them. I took a yellow pad with me and wrote down at least 2 dozen things I could do better for our marriage. Upon returning home, I found my wife had moved out of our house and I was served with divorce papers that accused me of everything from "mind control", "sexual deviance" and "sexual deprivation to gain control" and “violent outbursts”.

The only accusation that even comes close to being true concerns the volume of my responses in a disagreement. I admit that I respond loudly sometimes in disagreements. My wife and I went to counseling several months ago and this was pointed out to me as a problem for my wife. From that point forward, I never got loud again in ANY disagreement we have had. In fact, if a disagreement arose, I would hear what she had to say, not respond and walk away, intending to reply calmly and later. Each time I did this, my wife would follow me and hound me to reply immediately. Most times I would refuse and walk away again. Sometimes I would reply at that time, not loudly but I was usually upset by being pressured into an answer, especially when I was trying my best, (and succeeding), to honor her wishes of controlling my response volume.

I am 47 years old and have never hit anybody in anger in my life. Ever. I have defended myself on 2 occasions when I was surprised and physically attacked. I come from an alcoholic and dysfunctional family where I had to corner family members and scream at them to get my point across and to stop their abusive behavior, (mostly my mother and my sister). Looking back at the abuse they aimed at me, I’m amazed I never lost control and beat them up. But I never did. Sometimes I feel like I should get a medal for not hitting them.

One night while we were laying in bed talking, my wife and I disagreed on something and she hit me 3 times with her fist. Once in the throat, once in the face and once in the chest. I was stunned to say the least. She had never done this before and she was as surprised as I was. She ran out of the room crying and locked herself in the bathroom, completely ashamed by her actions. I forgave her for what she had done as I know her to be a very gentle and loving person. So between my wife and I, she is the only one that has ever lost their temper and hit another person. Yet I’m the one being accused of “violent outbursts”, which is my wife's justification for the divorce and lack of personal contact with me.

I have not seen nor spoken with my wife since I honored her request to leave home for a few days and gain some perspective on our marriage. I have no idea where she is. She will not talk to me, answer her phone at work, (I’m not even sure she is still in town working), or answer my emails or letters. Her attorney never misses a chance to mention in correspondence to my attorney, how badly my wife is suffering from my actions. The actual truth of the matter is this:

Sept. 1, my mother died

Sept. 16, I was injured in an auto accident

Sept. 23rd, I discovered my 401K was being stolen by my employer

Oct. 1st, I was fired from my job because I enquired about my 401K with my employer

Nov 8th, My wife signs divorce papers that are served to me 10 days later. This means she was alrady in the process of divorcing me at least 2 weeks before Nov. 8th.

My wife is a presidential appointee and initially began working in the Faith-Based and Community Initiative and is currently assigned to the Child and Family Services Division of Health and Human Services.

Is it just me or does anyone else seem to think my wife’s actions are in direct conflict with the positions she holds for the President of the United States?

I love my wife very much and do not want a divorce. However, her behavior has forced me to concentrate on taking care of myself and that may mean moving on.

I fear she has portrayed me to her family and friends as the beast she and her attorney have falsely made me out to be in her divorce papers.

I have no idea how to handle this situation. Should I fight back with all I have? I won’t lie or distort like she did, (nor do I have to), in order to severely damage her career and her relationship with her family and children. I do not want to take this approach but I fear I will have no other choice if push comes to shove.

Any suggestions?


-- Anonymous, December 24, 2002


I know where it is your coming from Bob. Count on them to leave you when the chips are down! You didnt mention the length of the marriage or any children involved. But regardless, if the times get tough, the woman get out. Will she be making decent money at that Presidential appoinee job? Bet she didnt have it in her to "share" her money with you after you lost the 401(K) and your job! After having those dozen or so things that all happened right after each other, I sympathise. She probably felt the pressure was too great on her, whereas you probably felt the pressure was too great on you both. She does not sound, based on your descriptions, to be an equal partner with you in the marriage. I hope things work out the best for BOTH of you, even if it means the marriage ends in unwanted divorce. If she is that important, than do not give up. You will always know that you tried to do everything possible to save the marriage. My only suggestion is to seek out anger management courses, versus domestic violence groups. Sounds like you were taught how to deal with conflict in an unhealthy way while growing up. Yelling to get her attention seemed to have the opposite effect. Best wishes.

-- Anonymous, February 14, 2003

I too have been labelled physically abusive which is not true. During a mediation session, a mediator blindsided ME: he said "You know, you should really not take out your frustrations on your wife" stating I was physically abusive. This is a complete lie told by my wife to the mediators. My wife, on the other hand, HAS been physically abusive to me!! She has hit me on several occasions, mainly thrown punches to the face. I have 3 permanent scars on my body due to bite marks. They are as clear as day - one being on the side of my stomach meaning SOMEBODY must have done it and not me being masochistic (hey, being a guy....it's so hard for people to believe that a woman can be violent to me). I have a scar by my right eye when she smashed a telephone handset into it resulting in a huge black-eye for 2 weeks. What did I do? I wore sunglasses for two weeks and told people I had an accident on my bike. I didn't tell the mediators about my wife's violence until the false accusation - it was too much to hear that and I told them everything. I showed them the scars. They acted as if I was STILL guilty. I must have provoked it they said. I said if that is so, surely she would have some evidence to my violence - I mean, how is it that the agressor would have marks over his body, and the victim have nothing whatsoever - yes, I guess it's possible I could be really smart and hit her just not hard enough to leave any marks....but come on, given the evidence, wouldn't you concede that sometimes domestic violence is female to male? That was 17th Dec 2002 and really it was the death knell of our marriage. I saw that session as a great opportunity to save our marriage.....until the session happened and it was apparent that my wife just wanted a divorce.

I couldn't help but have a wry smile when you mentioned your wife following you around the house, hounding you. The same happened with me - I'd escape from the room, only for her to follow me. I'd put on my shoes only for her to block the exit to the house with her saying "You can't walk away from problems! That's so weak" - I could not win. I too would become verbally agressive during an argument and my blood would boil, but I never hit out.

You ask for suggestions - I wish I could help you - but all I can do is offer my own story to you to show you are not alone. I know how incredibly frustrating it is to lose the wife you love in such a horrible fashion. Love is zero-sum - it's either fantastic and both people support each other, or it can become a nightmare where the person you love hurts you.

-- Anonymous, April 27, 2003

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