I was absolutely desperate. I have spent almost years without any support, while living with abuse. Before I met the counsellor at Uomini I had been in an abusive relationship for eight years, on and off. My partner was emotionally abusive towards me. In the end, I became so subdued to her abuse that I was unable to eat fruit, buy or choose clothes, decide to watch something on TV, go out and pretty much anything else without deferring to her. She was so bad, that after we split, she had audacity to move into the unit next to mine, for a period of two and half years.
I actually got back together with her, while I was seeing the counsellor, but this only lasted a few months. I had called several crisis lines when feeling particularly low, suicidal at points, but found them to be unhelpful or worse. I have been told that her behaviour wasn't abusive, that I couldn't be a victim as I am male, even that to help me they would need her details to give her support!
Each time I have spoken to any of these organisations I was being re-victimised over and over again! They all basically made mockery off me by saying that it was impossible that I was a victim (as being a male). They all viewed me as the perpetrator suggesting that my tone and frustration were clear indications that I was abusive. At some point I have stopped looking for help. There was maybe one year between the last call and the previous attempts, as I felt emotionally damaged by the responses, which I received. The organisations I have turned to, my family and friends; everyone seemed to completely disregard my experiences as being real, on the contrary I would receive the blame for all what was happening including her abusive behaviour.
Prior to meeting with the counsellor at Uomini I felt as if I was the burden on everyone, and I held no personal value or confidence towards myself. I have texted the service to ask if they could help. The counsellor that I spoke to was absolutely wonderful. He replied by text message straight back, asking me to outline my situation. We have then arranged a time when he could call me, being sure to check that I would be safe to receive the call. As I recall we arranged a Sunday morning at 9am. He texted me that morning to double check whether I was in a safe and secure place to receive the call and once I had confirmed, he called me one minute before our arranged time. I remember feeling elated by this, to be respected had become a true rarity for me.
When we spoke, I outlined in more detail what was happening for me. The counsellor listened carefully as I spoke and reassured me that he would be able to help. I was crying uncontrollably for most of the conversation, as I simply couldn't believe that here was a man who wasn't denying my experience, offering me help. He then suggested a therapeutic/assessment session the very next day. I felt understood and safe. I became so very emotional during that session and I remember crying a lot. I was quite anxious about the financial barrier, since I had no money, but the counsellor was seeing and helping me for nothing!
I spent approximately four years attending therapeutic sessions with a counsellor at Uomini. Our initial sessions would take place twice a week and then gradually were reduced to once weekly. However, during the whole time, if it was necessary, I would be offered occasionally two sessions per week.
A few sessions in, and it became clear that this was not the first time I had been a victim of abuse. I started to understand that my father and mother, many were abusive towards me. It was very difficult to accept this but with support I have been able to face this truth. Now I have moved on from all those people. This was particularly difficult but ultimately necessary and worthwhile. Whene we stopped therap I could always call if I needed to talk and he would never turn me away.
The counsellor didn't just save my life, he showed me that I deserved a better life, deserved to feel value within my own self, and deserved to feel love for myself and others. I am so grateful for him. No words can really express well enough what he has done for me.
Victimhood is a challenge to break. The truth is that counsellor there saved my life. I feel absolutely indebted for all the help and support that the counsellor has given me. He helped me to understand who I am; thanks to the counsellor I learned and understood my own personal value as a man and simply as a human being. He has showed me that life can be good and helped me to give it a completely new meaning. If it was not for the counsellor; his expertise as professional but also as compassionate human being, I know that I would not be here and certainly not at the place, where I am now.
I have had many counsellors/therapists before the one that I had at Uomini. What I would say about him, what is most powerful about him is that he is REAL. His sense of humour; he would laugh at times at my statements without devaluing the seriousness of their content. He laughed and said .don't worry'. I did not have to hide my inner self from him. He never judged me, ever. He made me feel valued.
I could not trust people before, working with this counsellor dispelled this so quickly, for me it was a whole new revelation experience in dealing with other people. He is an amazing person and I am so fortunate to know him.