Male victims of emotional/verbal/relationship abuse, please tell me about your experience.

Did you feel comfortable talking to friends/family about what was going on? Did they come to you about things they noticed? If so, what were those conversations like?

When I finally talked to my counselor about the 20 years of abuse my parents put me through, I was filled with shame and I kept fiddling with my jacket zippers. I would stammer, something I hadn't done since I was 10, and I immediately started recoiling because my grandmother used to verbally and physically abuse me for stammering. I was clearly uncomfortable, and my shoulders felt heavy.

Did you have trouble identifying emotional/verbal abuse (controlling/manipulative behavior, name calling, threats' etc.) because of gender roles?

I identified the abuse just fine. My problem was standing up for myself because I had been exposed to this abuse for so very long. It's something I continue to struggle with today.

Did your significant other deny her abusive behavior or feel justified in it due to being female? (Did she have a "women can't abuse men" attitude?)

My parents denied their abuse from day one (as did past girlfriends). I decided I didn't need their acknowledgement to validate what happened, and I haven't spoken with my parents for over 10 years. Feels great.

Have you felt inclined to ignore or as though you had to accept abusive situations because you felt like it isn't accepted that men can be on the receiving end?

It has nothing to do with me being a man. The passiveness I experienced is due to the fact I had been abused in similar ways by a variety of people for a very, very long time. It was at the point where I would think, "When will it start?" when I started seeing someone new.

What did you do to help with recovery? Did you feel discouraged from going through a recovery process?

When I was in college, I saw a counselor who helped me accept what happened and move on. It is no longer a guillotine that hangs over my future. It's something that happened to me, and that's it. I get PTSD attacks from time to time, but for the most part, I've accepted and move on.

And finally, how has it changed you and/or your view on relationships? Have you discussed it with partners since the abuse?

Well, I am admittedly a pessimist when it comes to this sort of thing. I used to get jealous when I'd meet people who had great families and talked positively about their families. Now, I just think, "I'm just happy you didn't experience what I did." I've accepted my abuse, but I'm still very wary of people. I've shared with some women I've dated about my history and all they could muster was sympathy (read: pity). I grew to realize my experience was not the norm, and a lot of people would not identify with me. It's a big part of who I am, but is it really relevant to discuss with partners? Not really. Not unless they notice a behavior and I need to explain it.

/r/MensRights Thread