WHO IS TRULY THE AGGRESSOR?

Let me paint you a picture.

One evening, a husband and wife are arguing about their impending divorce, while their kids are upstairs crying. The wife is yelling that he will never see his kids again and she’s keeping the house. His reaction? He yells back at her saying that she is toxic and out of control. The next thing he knows, his wife is phoning the police telling them he is threatening her, and she and her children are not safe.

The police arrive and speak to both parties, and since the children were upstairs during the argument they are not going to be interviewed. It has become a “he said/she said” scenario and now the husband is handcuffed and placed inside the police car as neighbors look on.

He is now being (falsely) accused of domestic violence, and so the harrowing drama begins.

Sound familiar? You’ve seen this before in the movies, or worse you know someone this has happened to. This is the picture society has painted regarding men as the aggressors in domestic disputes.

Yep, I’m going to go there and I’m sure I will receive quite a bit of hate mail saying that men “deserve this” and women are the victims.

Let me be clear, I am not by any means trivializing or dismissing the fact that women are abused. I am merely pointing out that not all women are the victims and some of them falsely accuse their partners of abuse to create a narrative in their divorce. Wives are the ones who most often file for divorce at 66% on average. That figure has soared to nearly 75% over the last few years.

For the past ten years, I have seen my fair share of high conflict divorces.  Just when I thought I had seen and heard it all, I became incredibly saddened by what I was witnessing. Early on, I was working with both men and women, and I only decided a few years ago that I wanted to be a support system for men.

You’re probably asking Why? Well, I’m going to be brutally honest right now. The female clients I had seemed to have an “agenda” on sabotaging their ex. Whether they were living under the same roof or not, vengeance and aggression were there to rear their ugly head.

Many years ago, a woman (let’s call her Abby), hired me to help her cope with her impending divorce. Neither Abby nor her husband had filed yet, in fact, I was under the impression he was not aware of her intentions. She did ask me numerous times in which scenarios a family law judge will give sole custody to a parent. She never liked my response, which was that children should have both parents in their life. A healthy co-parenting relationship should be the goal for their children. Regardless, after a few sessions, I suspected she had an ulterior motive that she wasn’t sharing with me. I continued to guide her on how to ultimately be fair regarding child custody, co-parenting, and dividing up their assets once the divorce was in motion.

One day, I received a phone call from Abby telling me her husband was arrested for domestic violence. I was shocked! In all our sessions together, she told me that he was a good husband and father with no temper and had never once raised his hands to either her or the children.

A few days later we met for a session and as we discussed what had happened, my gut said something was not right. Abby had filed for divorce that week and created the narrative of abuse, therefore, she should have sole custody of the children, the home, and an insane amount of alimony.

I couldn’t seem to shake my gut feeling, so I asked her directly if the incident of her husband pushing her onto the floor actually happened. As she was saying yes, her body was telling me no. When I informed her that if she made the story up, she would possibly lose everything as false accusations are serious and in some states a crime, she admitted that she wanted her husband out of the picture and wanted to keep her life with the kids and the family home.

My gut was right, Abby had lied. All I could think about was her husband and how deplorable this act of aggression was.

Because Abby was not the first female client to make up stories about their husbands to create a narrative of being a victim, I made the conscious decision to work only with men. 

Some Facts About Men

In most cases, fathers are not attempting to take their children away from their mothers.

After doing this for over 10 years, I can honestly say that I have never encountered a father who had falsely accused his wife of abuse or attempted to take the children away as a means of revenge.

People who behave in this manner do not realize that doing this diminishes the credibility of future victims.

Let’s not forget that false allegations harm the social standing, career prospects, and mental health of the accused— which may explain why male suicide is 8 times higher than women, while caught in the grip of the family law system.

An alarming statistic is that 62% of false accusers are reported to be females, often revolving around a child custody dispute. One explanation of why 43% of children in the United States are being raised without their fathers is due to 8% of Americans being falsely accused of child abuse, domestic violence, or other forms of abuse.

If you’re a man, the family courts are not a good place for you to be without the right tools and information. Reach out to me if you are trying to cope with an aggressive ex-spouse and let’s see if we are a good fit and can work together.

Hayley Lisa

The Divorce Coach For Men

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