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Wayward Side :
Abuse and anger management

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 Bulcy (original poster member #74034) posted at 3:15 PM on Friday, April 8th, 2022

I have recently signed up to and started a group therapy course with a domestic abuse charity. I never thought I would "be that man" and indeed my BS never thought she would be "that woman". I have seen evidence of abusive behaviour in the past and had nothing but contempt for the man dealing out this obvious abuse. Yet here I am.

I did notice an increase in anger from me directed at BS. Always when discussing affairs and when she was calling me out on lies or my defensive behaviour. I would shout and become physically intimidating. I would regret this when I calmed down, but did not look into the reasons behind the anger and indeed would get angry with BS when she pointed out the reasons she thought caused it. Then one evening we were arguing and I got angry, I was more physical, but minimised this with I did not strike her or punch her, therefore it’s not something that needs addressing, all I did was get angry. Fast forward until recently when this happened again. This time I realised what I had done, but still minimised my behaviour.

I signed up to group therapy with a local domestic abuse charity. Thinking all I needed was "a few tips" on controlling my anger. I even said to my mentor that I have not hit my wife I just need to learn to control myself. That I was worried I might lose control and do something more damaging. He just repeated what I had said and continued with questions. All of these questions were data gathering to see just how abusive and dangerous I was. They asked if they could contact BS, which I agreed to after consulting her. She is now on a course for domestically abused women. They even considered putting her on an at risk register…. I did not understand this at first and I was shocked that they would even consider this. Hey, I’ve not hit her, what’s the problem? Although it did trigger a conversation and a reaction from me. BS found some books that talk about types of abuse, both physical and emotional and the subdividing these into different types of abuse. Reading this book floored me. I read reports of guys who slammed their wife against walls or slapped them and defended this by saying I’ve not punched her. While true, it does not take away from the physical abuse. "Even just" being physically intimidating and shouting is abuse. It covered financial abuse…again, my minimising mind told me I’ve never stopped my wife spending money…..and yet I had. I have always been very free spending. In the past mostly on me and going out with "friends" and/or APs. In doing this BS had to control her spending to cover any emergency spending…then even covering every day spending while I spiralled into debt.

Now in starting the course I see so much more abuse I’ve inflicted on her and I see abuse everywhere. My father was emotionally abusive to my mother, sister and foster sister that he agreed to take into care. I have no memory of physical or sexual abuse. I see abuse with my BIL against my sister. He is certainly emotionally abusing her, he is very physically intimidating, he’s constantly belittling her and often their children. I see it everywhere. I now need to have a conversation with my sister as often as possible….this is made difficult because he no longer wants her to talk to me following a previous incident. So I now have to speak with my sister when he’s at work. I try to bring this into the conversation that I’m concerned about this behaviour. She puts it down to, "that’s just the way he is". Minimising on her side. He has recently lost his mother to cancer, but this behaviour predates this my many years.

I now need to focus on my behaviour and abusive behaviour. Looking back at this being my way of controlling conversations, using anger and then escalating this as soon as shouting did not have the desired effect. In addition to the weekly meetings for me and BS the charity also check in with us both to see how we’re feeling. BS has even apologised to me for having to be honest with the counsellor.

I will not be that man any more. I know there are a lot more home truths that will hit home over the next six months I am on the course and I need to be grown up enough to accept this and talk it through with BS every week. More evidence, not that it’s needed, to conform my wayward mentality is still firmly in place and I need help in controlling this behaviour. It really hit home that if I can recover myself and my marriage I will always be a recovering abuser and adulterer. Always needing to take every day and commit to not being that person. This is needed if the personal recovery is enough to save my marriage or not. I cannot and will not go backwards, assuming I can go forwards.

The councillors on this course and my IC keep telling me that self referral is a good step and I should feel good that I’ve done this. I don’t feel it. Maybe relief that the referral did not come through authorities following my arrest or something similar. I feel contempt to myself for being in this position. That I now have to sit in a room with other abusers that I previously would have looked down on. That I am that man. Even stronger feelings come from knowing my BS has to do a similar course. That she has to go through further trauma talking about my abusive behaviour to her. Something she did not ask for or deserve. She has to work through years of abusive behaviour. This is so unfair on her. Having lived through everything I’ve inflicted on her, she now has to live through it again. How does anyone help their wife thought this? I take some relief that this is now addressed and she and I are both getting help. That she now has a point of contact should my behaviour make her feel unsafe.

This is a big reason for my recent withdrawal from my relationship, my work, my activity on SI and being there for BS.

A lot of hard work needed

[This message edited by Bulcy at 4:13 PM, Friday, April 8th]

WH (40's) Me. Emotional affair (2017), Physical affair (2003) and online affairs, Two physical affairs (2000). D-Day's 2003, August '17, multiple discoveries through 2018,19 and 20, and Jan 21

posts: 175   ·   registered: Mar. 12th, 2020   ·   location: UK
id 8728678
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MIgander ( member #71285) posted at 4:47 PM on Friday, April 8th, 2022

Hi Bulcy,

This was one of the hardest things I have had to wrestle with, that I am an abuser. Emotionally with all my lies and gaslighting and then physically with slapping him while dating and then sleeping with AP.

It is good you self referred into the program. It means you want to change and are doing something concrete about it. This will be hard to feel while you are doing the inital confrontation with your past abuse of your BW. It will become easier to accept that this step alone is something to build your self respect on. Especially as you are making consistent efforts and behavior changes.

Keep it up. Starting is the hardest step. Starting with my trauma counselor put me in a hole for 2 months!

WW Dday July 2019

posts: 656   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2019   ·   location: Michigan
id 8728783
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wifehad5 ( Administrator #15162) posted at 6:26 PM on Friday, April 8th, 2022

Stop sign removed at your request.

FBH - 50 FWW - 51 (BrokenRoad)2 kids 15 & 20
The people you do your life with shape the life you live

posts: 55314   ·   registered: Jun. 28th, 2007   ·   location: Michigan
id 8728801
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beauchateaux ( member #57201) posted at 2:37 AM on Monday, April 11th, 2022

Maybe I just missed it but you keep saying "I never hit her" or whatever, but you do mention a vague "escalation" and being "physically intimidating". What exactly are we talking about here? Shouting? Pushing, grabbing? Getting in her face? Towering over her while she cowered?

I feel like - although you certainly don’t owe us more than what you’re willing to admit to or say - you’re still sort of minimizing by naming all the things you DIDN’T do as opposed to facing up to the things that you did do, specifically, that you feel were abusive or "physically intimidating".

It just seems like you’re still avoiding owning up to what you DID, as opposed to just repeating ad nauseum "well at least I didn’t do THIS"…

Im not trying to be mean. Im just saying that your post comes across as avoidant to me in that you want to own up to abusive behavior while still minimizing.

I edit pretty much every post because I always hit submit and then think of 'one more thing' to say.

posts: 302   ·   registered: Jan. 31st, 2017   ·   location: Chicago
id 8729102
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 Bulcy (original poster member #74034) posted at 8:55 AM on Monday, April 11th, 2022

Beauchateaux,

I think we are at slight cross purposes. My point when writing this was the level of minimising that I was doing. Failing to recognise the physical and emotional abuse I was subjecting my wife to. I was commenting on how even when recognising this I minimised by thinking and actually saying to my sponsor that "at least I didn’t hit her" and "I was completely out of control".

I do own what I did and this is between myself, my wife and my therapy group. I wanted to post this to both act as a warning to other abusers/abused and to open a discussion on the dangers of minimising and how something an abuser did however "small" they think it is could be abusive behaviour. There are a couple of threads on gaslighting…the tip of the iceberg of emotional abuse.

I’m still learning about this subject. I’ve only attended a couple of sessions and read a couple of books. I’ve a long way to go before I will start to even consider myself safe

WH (40's) Me. Emotional affair (2017), Physical affair (2003) and online affairs, Two physical affairs (2000). D-Day's 2003, August '17, multiple discoveries through 2018,19 and 20, and Jan 21

posts: 175   ·   registered: Mar. 12th, 2020   ·   location: UK
id 8729120
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 Bulcy (original poster member #74034) posted at 6:10 PM on Wednesday, April 13th, 2022

Yesterday I had my first face to face domestic abuse group meeting.

I was one of three "newbies". We introduced ourselves and discusses what areas we need to improve/focus in on the "Power and Control wheel". I had to admit that there was only one section that I could categorically say I had not abused my wife with (using children). I had to talk through why I self referred and what I had done to BS. I found this extremely hard and noticed I was staring at the floor (They had a copy of the wheel on the floor) but I was no longer look at this. I looked up and addressed the other guys to ask for their support and to commit to doing this course.

As the rest of the group introduced themselves everyone was there for the same ultimate reason. Their backgrounds were different. Some recovering alcoholics, a couple who were clean from drug abuse for only a few months. One guy who owned his own business. My point being that abusers come from all demographics and socio-economic groups. Everyone shared their stories and it seemed that they all were genuinely there because they wanted to better themselves rather than because of a court order or to win points against former partners. I felt that some were holding back a little and others were minimising. Hopefully this will become clearer in time and if others feel I am minimising then they will call me out as much as I will with them.

It was hard and I know it's only going to get harder in future weeks. I will use this to help me onto the correct path.

I will update further as time goes by

WH (40's) Me. Emotional affair (2017), Physical affair (2003) and online affairs, Two physical affairs (2000). D-Day's 2003, August '17, multiple discoveries through 2018,19 and 20, and Jan 21

posts: 175   ·   registered: Mar. 12th, 2020   ·   location: UK
id 8729582
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 Bulcy (original poster member #74034) posted at 6:02 PM on Thursday, April 21st, 2022

Tuesday of this week was my second group meeting. Tuesday and for the following two weeks the focus is on domestic abuse and the impact on children. This is not entirely relevant to me as I don't have any kids. However it was still hard hitting and they're going to be digging into FOO issues and their impact on abusers. The guys on the course were relaying their stories of listening to their father/step father beating their mother. Some including my self were remembering instances of their parents subjecting others to emotional abuse.

One thing I found interesting was me noticing another guy on the course minimising and justifying the abuse he subjected his wife and kids to. We open the meeting by discussing our week and what items on the Power and Control wheel (Duluth Model) we are on the course to address. Every week he has said there is nothing that he needs to address and that he's on the course because of lies told by former partner. He had yet to open up to the group. I saw this and others who were minimising and blame shifting, while at the same time this is something I have been doing for years. I'm hoping that seeing it others will help me see it in myself. The guys who have been on the course do point out minimising or comments that "don't make sense" and in future meetings when the subject matter moves onto areas of the wheel in need to focus on I want them to call me out.

I have acknowledged that I need help on all sections of the wheel, with the exception of "Using Children"

A long way to go

WH (40's) Me. Emotional affair (2017), Physical affair (2003) and online affairs, Two physical affairs (2000). D-Day's 2003, August '17, multiple discoveries through 2018,19 and 20, and Jan 21

posts: 175   ·   registered: Mar. 12th, 2020   ·   location: UK
id 8730953
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MIgander ( member #71285) posted at 2:26 PM on Monday, April 25th, 2022

Bulcy, I'm so glad to hear you're doing this work.

It's a good sign that you're recognizing the BS in others. It's a sign that you're getting stronger. Not tolerating BS in others means (hopefully) that you're not tolerating it in yourself.

Tolerating and putting an end to it are two different things. That's where the rubber meets the road- seeing the behavior in others and yourself and rooting it out in yourself.

Good luck, wishing you the best.

WW Dday July 2019

posts: 656   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2019   ·   location: Michigan
id 8731843
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MrCleanSlate ( member #71893) posted at 6:52 PM on Tuesday, April 26th, 2022

Bulcy,

Sometimes the hardest part is acknowledging that there is a problem. Once you do that then possibilities for self improvement open up.

That you are able to write on this forum of things you have done that you now are seeing are wrong, and also participating in a group and seeing the denial in others is really an amazing step forward.

There are so few waywards that post here, at least beyond those first few panicked posts, that we need to recognize that you are really trying to improve who you are. It does happen in small steps.

I never thought I had a problem, until I was forced to deal with my issues post D-Day. I still have trouble with depression, the difference is that now, after about 30 years with my BW, I open up about my problems. I still have trouble when depressed and don't want to do meds. Not great, but trying. I recognize that though.

My wife worried about me. She sees the same pattern as before my A. I say it is different now, I communicate. I express my feelings. Those fears don't go away for either of us though. That is the pain that doesn't leave.

I started to respond to you and I am responding to myself more.

Keep doing what you are doing. It is worth the effort. I feel a lot better than 6 years ago. Not cured. But better. You'll get there and be thankful you did.

WH 52,my BW is 51
1 year PA, D-Day Oct 2015
Admitted all, but there is no 'clean slate'. In R and working it everyday
“To build may have to be the slow and laborious task of years. To destroy can be the thoughtless act of a single day

posts: 672   ·   registered: Oct. 21st, 2019   ·   location: Canada
id 8732093
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Spaceman ( new member #80138) posted at 10:35 AM on Wednesday, April 27th, 2022

Man, keep up with what you are doing and I hope it will all work out for you. I will do the same :)

Reading your story, i immediately recalled my own experience of being emtionally abusive. Never screamed, never was physical, but being abusive and violent nevertheless. Small day to day mean remarks, lies, instigating the conflict and then blaming the wife, I did it all. It was so hard to admit it to myself and the brain wanted to minimise it all the time.

I realised it too late to save the marriage, but you have the possibility to do so!But mainly do it for your own sake, keep on working!

posts: 22   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022   ·   location: Poland
id 8732228
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 Bulcy (original poster member #74034) posted at 9:06 PM on Wednesday, April 27th, 2022

Thanks for the responses.

Yesterday was the third of four on the impact of abuse on childhood. This week was focussed more on the abuse the guys on the course were subject to and the impact on them....Then linking this to the likely impact on their kids. I had little input to this as I had a relatively normal childhood (although I was witness to my father being emotionally abusive) and I don't have children of my own. What I did see in even more detail was how my nephews seem to have shown classic signs of childrens reactions to being in an abusive relationship. I don't know if my BIL has been physically abusive, but he has/is certainly very dominating and physically intimidating. I do need to sit with my nephews and speak with them anyway, so maybe this can come up in conversation...A very difficult subject to bring up.

It's a good sign that you're recognizing the BS in others. It's a sign that you're getting stronger. Not tolerating BS in others means (hopefully) that you're not tolerating it in yourself.

Tolerating and putting an end to it are two different things. That's where the rubber meets the road- seeing the behavior in others and yourself and rooting it out in yourself.

Good luck, wishing you the best.

Thanks, I do hope that is the case, I'm seeing the past behaviour in it's full "glory" and am trying to see when I minimise, omit, lie or act in any way abusive. Future weeks will be more relevant to me and I expect some tough self reflection ahead.

My wife worried about me. She sees the same pattern as before my A. I say it is different now, I communicate. I express my feelings. Those fears don't go away for either of us though. That is the pain that doesn't leave.

I started to respond to you and I am responding to myself more.

Keep doing what you are doing. It is worth the effort. I feel a lot better than 6 years ago. Not cured. But better. You'll get there and be thankful you did.

MrCleanSlate, Thanks for being there and reaching out to me when I first joined the forum. I appreciated the advice, even if I did not know what to do with it or was even ready to listen to what I was being told. Your story made me understand more that this never really ends and our BS will never get over the trauma we've inflicted on them, however we can still live in a happy marriage, knowing that when there are triggers or concerns that we, the WS, act appropriately.

Man, keep up with what you are doing and I hope it will all work out for you. I will do the same

Spaceman, thanks. My offering to you is to listen to these guys and fix yourself. That really is the first important step. One thing I did not understand at first was that you don't need to be fully fixed before you can start becoming a better person, but you do need to a) want to and b) acknowledge and own what you've done. If this is too late for your current relationship, then so be it. You need to a better person for yourself and and subsequent relationship. Hey, even friendships and family relationships are impacted by us being assholes. Stay safe

WH (40's) Me. Emotional affair (2017), Physical affair (2003) and online affairs, Two physical affairs (2000). D-Day's 2003, August '17, multiple discoveries through 2018,19 and 20, and Jan 21

posts: 175   ·   registered: Mar. 12th, 2020   ·   location: UK
id 8732344
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 Bulcy (original poster member #74034) posted at 6:36 PM on Friday, May 13th, 2022

I've had another couple of sessions since I last posted.

We have moved from the effects of domestic abuse on children, to emotional abuse. This subject is closer to home than previously and I already feel that the emotional pain and guilt I fell at these sessions is higher. The session on Tuesday was only an introduction and this hit home when I recognised the majority of the behaviours in me and my marriage. Additionally I am seeing the behavioural types in others around me, even in my own family. I am keeping a closer eye on my sister, I had a chance to speak with her on Wednesday and I brought up the subject of my course and recognising types of abuse. I was unsure about bringing up abusive relationships other than mine as I'm concerned about her response. I do need to have this conversation though.

I'm not sure about discussing anger management techniques or how to recognise behaviours of abuse on this or another thread. Is this allowed (copyright and all that) and will it be wanted?

WH (40's) Me. Emotional affair (2017), Physical affair (2003) and online affairs, Two physical affairs (2000). D-Day's 2003, August '17, multiple discoveries through 2018,19 and 20, and Jan 21

posts: 175   ·   registered: Mar. 12th, 2020   ·   location: UK
id 8735169
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