Men Driven Over the Edge




Cavalier treatment of divorced men can have unintended consequences.  The theft from fathers of those irrecoverable joys of sharing their children’s youth is difficult to accept.  Imposition of exorbitant money demands on top of the loss of family compounds the intolerability.  These situations can cause otherwise intelligent persons to become irrational concerning their erstwhile mates and to behave out of character.  Crime, behavioral aberrations, misery, and inefficiency consequently plague this vale of tears.  It is easy to sympathize, even empathize, with the victims.  Most are not the criminal type, but are forced by irrational court judgments to seek and conceal alternate incomes in order to live even a partially decent life.

Many of the unloved would rather be dead than alive in this world.  If you hear about a man committing suicide the odds are better than 2:1 that he is either divorced or in the process.  The study “Marital Status and Suicide in the National Longitudinal Mortality Study” by Augustine J. Kposowa, Ph.D., at the University of California at Riverside (CBS News covered the report in some detail.) showed divorced/separated men’s suicides to be 14,850 per year.  Dr. Robert Litman, a U.S.C. psychiatrist with the Los Angeles Suicide Prevention Center, maintains that a divorced man is twice as likely to commit suicide – some say 6 times more likely – (as did 2 of this writer’s relatives by marriage) as is a divorced woman, because he suffers more than she does.

Too many men have been driven beyond bitterness, to violence, murder and suicide XE "suicide"  by the unfairness of divorce to even begin to list them all.  A few of their stories are related below:

Last Will and Testament of A.T. Renouf of Canada (verbatim): 

“Last Friday my bank account was garnished. I was left with a total of $00.43 in the bank.  At this time I have rent and bills to pay which would come to somewhere approaching $1,500 to $1,800.  Since my last pay was direct deposited on Friday I now have no way of supporting myself.  I have no money for food or for gas for my car to enable me to work...

“I have tried talking to the Family Support people...  Their answer was: ‘we have a court order.’  I have tried talking to the welfare people in Markham, since I earned over $520 in the last month I am not eligible for assistance.

“I have had no contact with my daughter in approx. 4 years.  I do not even know if she is alive and well...  I have no family and no friends, very little food, no viable job and very poor future prospects.  I have therefore decided that there is no further point in continuing my life.  It is my intention to... feed the car exhaust into the car, take some sleeping pills...

“I would have preferred to die with more dignity.

“It is my last will and testament that this letter be published for all to see and read.”

A.T. Renouf signed his will on the day he committed suicide, Oct. 16, 1995.

James H. Romine, 44, of Middleton, Wisconsin, a suburb of Madison, immolated himself after being served divorce papers.  Joe Fridel, from Avon, Minnesota, fatally shot himself in the head, according to the autopsy report, after being served divorce papers on his 23rd wedding anniversary — papers which summarily evicted him from home and family without a hearing.

When hatred replaces love, frustration and bitterness appear.  Good and evil become indistinguishable in the depths of despair.  Reaction to any form of brutality can be passive submission or active retaliation.  The interest, compounded hourly, on the bitterness divorced men endure can drive, and has driven, men to extreme measures.  If a court took your car from you and gave it to someone else, then the court made you make the payments, the insurance, the gasoline and maintenance costs of the car.  What would you do?  What’s the proper response to a court that takes your children and makes you pay money to the very person who destroyed your family?  You'd probably be out in the streets rioting.  Some do much worse.

Because individuals vary, there is no telling who has been driven to the edge of, or beyond, his limits.  Unstable minds are like unstable air; overheated elements expand adiabatically, feeding upon themselves until they can no longer contain their own frictional energy and must violently discharge like lightening.  It's not safe to be in the vicinity.  On the razor’s edge of existence, “estranged husbands” (as the newspapers like to describe them) are human time-bombs.  Cornered animals naturally attack their attackers; but some of these poor devils make headlines by shooting up the town.

Many calculated murders, hard to condemn, have been committed by men wanting only a fair divorce, but cognizant of the impossibility.  These have included doctors, lawyers, and others in full control of their senses.  Some have never been discovered.

Minneapolis Judge Barbeau impoverished Men’s Rights Association member Mr. Ray Oehler in a divorce, giving his ex-wife title to property he had spent a lifetime building.  Limited in understanding, he knew only that he had been done wrong, and was livid about it.  As Judge Barbeau admitted to a newspaper reporter, this writer warned him three times about possible violence, but to no avail.  Ray dispatched his wife with four shotgun blasts at close range.  So it is obvious that even women can be ultimate victims of divorce, especially when courts go too far in their behalf.

Geronimo’s violence was triggered by the murder of his wife and two children.  Several divorced men have even irrationally murdered their own children.

While media commentators piously breast-beat about these men without understanding the cause, one can only speculate how many lives could have been saved if fairness existed in divorce court.  That quality is sadly lacking.

Some men take it better than others.  A divorced friend of mine opened his house to other divorced friends.  It was only half-jokingly dubbed “The Home for Unwed Fathers.”

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Last modified: October 12, 2013