When I found the quote in the title I knew nothing about Henry Ward Beecher, I quickly read the Wiki about him to discover that I knew of his sister Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of Uncle Toms cabin.
So what do I get from this quote.
Every man should be born again on the first day of January. Start with a fresh page.
It’s an interesting sentiment, a touch impracticable, throw off the weight of our past and start afresh, except our personal histories make and define us. So here I am at the start of the year, I’m prepared and working towards shedding my negative attributes (my DVIP supervisor thinks I’m doing pretty well at changing), such as being angry, aggressive – although we’ll see next week when I speak about my annoyance over some of the other men in the group’s denial.
DVIP is good and bad at the same time. Good when you can discuss what being violent to your partner is, with men who have done the same and regret it and want to change. But not good when other men are in full denial, who talk from a script to avoid accepting what they’ve done and believe they are incorrectly convicted.
I look at DVIP and what I’ll learn as a positive thing, I’ve realised I have no empathy towards the effect of violence. I grew up with a lot of domestic violence and violence towards me. It’s difficult for me to process the lists that are handed out. The most recent one was a list of effects. When we were asked what we thought our partners had experience and to pick them from the list. I said that I’d have to turn it around and say the ones I hadn’t done which was three items from three pages of A4. I haven’t broken her ribs, I haven’t broken her limbs, I haven’t raped and I haven’t given her an STD (I’ve never cheated), the rest, yes. There are three in my group of seven who all reckon that they are the ones who have experience all of what was on the list not their wives.
I was amazed at their depth of denial, that they’ve done nothing wrong in their words and don’t understand why they are there. It’s pretty simple really, we have all been charged and convicted of Domestic Violence. Pretty bloody simple. I admitted guilt straight off, the others have gone to court, in most cases it’s very easy for a competent lawyer to argue against a conviction, unless the evidence is pretty compelling (sad, but true when it comes to domestic violence).
Being a perpetrator of domestic violence is not difficult for me to say but very difficult for many to hear. I grew up being punched, kicked, scalded and with a big list of healed wounds from my mother, step father, uncle. For a very long time in my life I vowed never to be like them but one day, nearly two years ago I did become them. Just as it started now it’s stopped, but the feelings of anger and violence are still there and I will not deny them.
Which is why sitting there listening to the denial is driving me nuts. I’ve spoken to my DVIP supervisor and he’s given me the green light to open up and speak about it. I’ve asked him to watch very carefully for the signs that I’m going to become dangerous to the others and the men I will be directing this at.
It would sort of be good to shed my excessive hyper-sexuality, DW my wife finds that sex four to six times a week is more than enough, rather than my preferred four to six times a day (you would think that after ten years of marriage my horn for her would have worn off).
Before DW I was a sex addict, but on meeting her getting engaged and married she has been the only one, her sex drive is high enough and she’s liberal enough that I don’t look elsewhere or get bored as I have with others.
I’d definitely keep my good attributes and build upon them – although I’m not 100% sure what my good attributes are.
Taking his quote at it’s most literal is too difficult, as it would require a form of amnesia that would blank the sum of the attributes that defines me, take the DVIP again, my wife wants the anger and controlling behaviour gone, but wants the positive anger (the one that can spur us on to change) kept and the ability to command and control a situation kept. So as you see its a bit tough.