Lighted end of canal tunnelThe last few days have been particularly trying emotionally.

I’d blame my Senator, but really, it was just a tiny reminder.

This month is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. I got an email about it from my Senator about it. Standard boilerplate congressional email, but it was the doorway to another emotional minefield.

Over the last few weeks, while I’ve thought about how to approach the topic again, it had me reflecting on the relationship that put me in the frighteningly large group of male survivors.

This is about awareness, but more, I’d like to share what it’s like when I’m at the lowest emotional state. While there are happy memories from my past relationship, and a few very dark ones, in general, the years in which I was being abused are something of a blur.

The brightest moments between me and my ex-wife still stand out enough, moments where I was hopeful everything could work out. Mixed in there are the stellar emotions of the birth of my son.

On the darker side, I remember real fear. While I didn’t think my wife would ever hurt me physically, she threatened to ruin me in other ways. Calling the police was a common one.

And the worst, of all of this, is the emotions surrounding the birth of my daughter, are not as powerful in my memory as my son. Unfortunately, those were the darkest hours in many ways. I was beaten, and it affected everything around me.

But things got better. I’m almost done with school, my son is five years old, my daughter is almost four. I have new friends, and regained some old friends. With some effort, it can get better.

To those who suspect a friend is being abused, keep yourself present and available. Call regularly. Talk with them, invite them out. Just a warning, though: they might not be in a position to accept what’s going on. Give it time, and be there when they’re ready. That’s what I needed when the cycle finally broke, and I am willing to bet I’m not the only one.