If you’re thinking “this has been blown out of proportion”, or “I’ve never done anything like this before – it’s not me”, you could be feeling it’s a bit unfair or a bit surreal. Here’s a few ideas that might help.
Sometimes history goes unnoticed
When violence comes to the attention of Police and the Court, it’s serious. Perhaps it’s the first time that it’s reached that level, but chances are it won’t have been the first time you’ve been abusive. For some men who use abusive behaviour, a lot of the abuse is ‘under your radar’. You can be very used to acting and talking in a certain way, and don’t notice how it harms your relationships – but maybe it’s part of the pattern that led to this ‘first time’ incident.
What’s the pattern?
Having a better understanding of what abuse really is – the subtle stuff as well as the obvious stuff, can help you make sense of what’s happened in your relationship over time. Real ‘one-offs’ are rare – in most cases there’s a history of abusive behaviour that went under the radar – or maybe was noticed, but ignored. Time to have a good look.
Control is the key
Everyone wants to be comfortable and secure – to have things just the way they like them. That’s great if you can get it, but what do you do to try and make that happen? How you do it can either build a relationship – or destroy it. Trying to get what you want by forcing or controlling your partner or other people is the quick and dirty method – you might get what you think you want, but it comes at a cost – that everyone pays. There are no winners in that.
If you’ve been ‘good at’ controlling behaviour, or if your partner backs down or goes along with what you want, you could be thinking your relationship is fine. But no-one likes to be controlled. When the other person says enough is enough, objects to your control, or fights back, if you’re committed to control you’ll do whatever it takes – automatically. That will take you into violence – and you could be thinking “it’s all her fault”.
There’s a saying – “the more ‘in control’ you try to be, the more ‘out of control’ your behaviour gets”. In that saying, the ‘in control’ is about controlling others; the ‘out of control’ is about giving up on your own self-control. The problem isn’t the one situation where your partner fought back, it’s the whole pattern of control of others that you’ve put in place.
There’s a better way: self control – not controlling others. Dealing with your own discomfort, and keeping the big picture, the long term goal in mind. What are you trying to create? Do you want family wellbeing and a happy relationship? It takes work, to make it work.
Ensure a better future
Whatever your situation, if you’re objecting to being labelled as an “abuser” or “violent man”, maybe that says you value respect and consideration. You’ll want to be very sure your actions demonstrate that in the long term, and that you won’t be in this situation again. Get help with putting that future in place.
Dealing with other people’s behaviour … Read more >>