And as he recovered in hospital, his wife secured a protection order and the man lost any relationship he had with his two children.
“My daughter made her Confirmation but I was the criminal at the back of the church. I didn’t get a photograph with my daughter. I didn’t get anything. I was like a scumbag and it’s wrong. It’s very, very wrong,” he said.
The man, who used the pseudonym ‘Paul’, was interviewed on TV3’s Ireland AM with his face turned away from the camera and his voice heavily disguised.
He had met his wife in the mid-90s. They were engaged within four months and married after six.
During their honeymoon, he said an alcohol-fuelled argument over him discovering her sitting with her arms around another man turned ugly.
“We left the bar and when we got around into an alley way, I got the bejaysus kicked out of me,” he claimed. Even though he was, as he put it, “a big bloke” he did not retaliate. He put it down to drinking too much and never mentioned the incident again.
The man insisted his wife continued to physically abuse him but he put up with it. “I just wanted an easy life; I didn’t care.”
Her abusive behaviour worsened when she became pregnant with their first child.
“But, like, who did you tell? What do you do? Go down to the pub and say: ‘Look what the missus did to me last night’. You don’t do it.”
He felt he could not leave because there was no refuge centre for men in Ireland.
One morning, he was stabbed 15 times with a kitchen knife and taken to hospital. While being treated, he discovered his wife was spinning her version of what had happened.
Two gardaí came to see him in hospital. He showed them his wounds but he knew they did not believe him. “The guard says to me: ‘Well, I wouldn’t really call them stab wounds’. So how do I win?”
He said his wife, who walked out of their home with their children, had claimed he had stabbed himself.
“My kids don’t want to know me now. They don’t have a daddy. Mammies don’t tell lies, only daddies tell lies,” he said, becoming tearful.
“It’s not like a bereavement. My father died. I go to his grave and say my prayers. I can go there but I have nothing.”
A turning point, he said, was making contact with Amen — a support group for male victims of domestic abuse.
“It didn’t matter what you told them; it didn’t matter. They listened to you. They believed you.”
Amen manager Niamh Farrell, who also appeared on the show, said 800 men in a similar situation to Paul’s made initial contact with the support service last year.