Men’s Stories – My Son Needs Help

This is a very difficult letter for me to write as I feel I should have sought help for my son a long time ago.

My son got married at 23, shortly after the wedding we noticed he was visiting less and less, his friends told my daughter that he stopped going out with them too. I put this down to being a newlywed and wanting to spend time with his new wife. About a year and a half into the marriage my son was at our home when I noticed he has bruising on his face and he was looking a bit unkempt and thin. I spoke to my son about this and he told me he is having difficulties with his marriage. I explained to my son about all marriages having difficulties and he needs to work with his wife and to support her.

About a year later my son’s wife called me screaming that I had raised a stupid alcoholic son and I could have him back, I was shocked. I had not spent very much time with my son’s wife she seemed very quiet and shy to me, she didn’t like to socialise. I had never heard her so aggressive before. I rang my son but he did not pick up, I didn’t sleep all night. When my son did answer his phone the next day, he told me he had gone for a drink after work with a colleague but he had only been out for an hour, he said everything was ok and not to worry as the row had blown over. I did not see his wife again for months and when I did see her at a family funeral she totally ignored me.

A year after the phone call incident my son came to see me, he told me his now pregnant wife was constantly angry and nothing he did was ever good enough. My son broke down, he told me she had started physically attacking him only two months into the marriage, he said she would hit slap and punch him in fits of rage, and had threatened him with a knife on three occasions. He told me he has been dragged out of his bed in the middle of the night on numerous occasions by his wife, she would scream at him that he is fat and useless, my son said she would verbally and mentally abuse him for hours until he eventually calmed her down or he had to leave for work. My son told me his wife would threaten to go to the Gardai and tell them that he is abusing her. 

The day my son came to me and revealed the abuse was the day she lived up to her threat, my son had received a Protection Order from his wife. He told me Gardai had arrived at his job in front of his colleagues to serve him. My son told me that his wife tells him daily if he does not toe the line she will take his child and he will never see them. My son’s wife tells him that the courts always believe the woman and she will take everything from him.  My son attended court re his wife’s safety order summons, he agreed to participate in a perpetrator programme, he did this so he can to be in his child’s life. I feel I have let my son down badly, I should have listened harder the first time he came to me, instead I told him he needed to be more supportive of his wife. He continues to live in the home with his abusive wife and he continues to take the abuse so he can be a father. I am terrified that my son will never seek the help he so badly needs and he will decide to take his own life to stop the pain.

If you or anyone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, please contact our confidential helpline on 01-5543811 or [email protected]