Thursday, September 11, 2008

Words from a Man with the Courage to Change

A few people recommended a book to me called "Love Without Hurt" by Steven Stosny. I was doing a search for opinions about it and came across the blog of a man who is reading it and doing the "bootcamp" exercises for men trying to change abusive behavior. Daniel's story is a sad, but common one. On his blog he courageously acknowledges that he was verbally abusive to his wife. Sadly, they recently divorced, but Daniel is continuing the work he needs to do to heal and hopes one day to reunite with his wife, the mother of their three young children. I wish him well.

I just got the Stosny book and so far I like it very much. I'll write more about that later. When I first found Daniel's blog he had just written that he probably wouldn't be posting any more. I encouraged him to continue, if he felt like he could, because his insights might help some marriages. Daniel graciously posted again and what he said is so important I want to copy some of it here.

One thing I would like to say to both abusers and victims who might have stumbled across this:

Men don't marry their wives with the intention of abusing them (a very apt point made in Stosny's book). I married my wife to love her, protect her and to cherish her. I know this with all of my heart, and I still feel this today. I NEVER expected to be the person that she needed to be protected from.

With me, I can clearly say that every time that I've identified when I've been emotionally abusive towards Amy that it wasn't her that I really was resentful towards or that I was even angry with her. I was angry at myself. I was fearful of myself and my own feelings. I was resentful about myself. I was subconsciously acting out my hate of my mother towards her (My mother was emotionally and physically abusive towards me in my youth as well as very manipulative and controlling).

I never consciously wanted to hurt her. I never wanted her to be fearful of me. I never wanted to argue with her in front of the kids. I never wanted ANY of this!

However, this is my reality. I did these things. I am the person to blame, and I am the person who needs to fix himself.

If there is a man out there who is reading this who's been accused of emotional abuse: YOU NEED TO ACCEPT WHAT'S BEING TOLD TO YOU AND YOU NEED TO ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY! Your wife didn't make you do anything! You are the one with the responsibility of your own mouth and actions, not your wife. She didn't shrink and go inside of your head and tell you to be abusive. Don't use that excuse. The quicker you accept your wife's perspective and the quicker you get help, the more hope you will have in saving your marriage. Don't wait to take actions like I did. It will put you in a world of hurt... especially if you have kids. Take action now!

If your wife is telling you to move out: DO IT! Help her feel safe! But, let her know that you will immediately seek counseling and that you love her and want to do anything for her. Then follow through.

Jeeze. I'm on a soap box. But, these are all things that I sure wish someone would have said to me when I still had a chance with Amy. Instead, I heard Amy's warnings, but then said to myself, "Don't worry. Things will work themselves out. They always do." But, they sure didn't.

Daniel, I commend you for taking responsibility for your feelings and actions and taking steps to change. A lot of men never get to that point. I am hopeful that as more men like Daniel speak up, that slowly and surely, things will change in the world.


Mel said...

Good for him!
Hard, difficult....painful....but GOOD for HIM.

Made me teary...cuz I know so few who have the courage to stand up to take that responsibility ...and mean it.

Anonymous said...

Just came across your thoughts. Have faith and take the leap. You will survive. I am.
Believe that you deserve to be treated the very best. Prepare and prepare well.
Warm wishes.

jennie said...

Thank you for your kind thoughts anon.

Anonymous said...

Jennie, I cannot find another way to connect with you beyond this comment box, so please forgive me for posting my link here. Since you're moderating, you don't even have to post this comment, right? I've linked to your blog on my own. Our stories are similar (of course), and I think it would be great if we "linked" together. My blog is at
You haven't posted since last year. I hope all is well with you. Usually when I'm feeling "all right" in the relationship I neglect to think about or realize what is truly going on. Fact is, he's usually in his nice phase, getting ready for the next "nuclear" attack. I hope that's not the case with you.
In any case, I'm glad to have found your blog, and I encourage you to post in good times AND bad.

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