I was never taught that violence is inappropriate. I had never been a brawler; all my issues were with my wife and children. After abusive episodes with my wife, M’liss, I felt guilt, and was sometimes suicidal.
Things as simple as getting lost while driving often led to trouble. When I was violent, I felt blind rage. It was mainly about power and an effort to gain control over M’liss or the children. Sometimes it was to turn off her anger. It was my way of getting to an agreement without negotiation.
I only stopped because I was motivated by a fear of the law. To break the cycle, I needed therapy. I had to visualize myself as non-violent. It is possible that an episode could happen again. The best way to describe my battle to avoid a relapse into violence is that I have a wolf in my face and I am hanging onto its ears. Whether he will bite me depends on my grip. I am getting older now, but so is the wolf, yet I must keep my grip strong all the time. If I feel my control is slipping then I need to do something about it right then and there. The only way it could happen again is if I miss the warning signs that precede violence.
The perpetrator of the violence must take responsibility for it and be ready to change.
Reprinted with permission