Being in denial, what to do about it

It’s another DVIP group session tonight, I quite like going to them now, although they are challenging. The other fellas are… complex! There is seven of us, three are seriously deeply in denial and don’t understand why they are there, there are another three who are seeing the benefits of change and then myself. I’m committed to change, after seeing the effects of domestic violence on my wife and children I’m now committed to changing for their good and wellbeing and want to support them in giving them as good a life as I can.

Being a domestic violence perpetrator is difficult, I realise that in my efforts to make a good family home I went too far in the wrong direction, being too controlling, too demanding and too coercive and in my frustration that three other people weren’t doing as I demanded I became violent, hitting out as a way of dealing with my frustrations and trying to punish them for not doing it the way I wanted.

What has dawned on me is one of the basic tenets of Al-Anon: detached love. I love my girls (that does include my wife – for clarity) with all my heart, but my heart wasn’t big enough to let them be themselves. Now, I’m adopting a live and let live approach, let them be themselves and instead of controlling – guiding.

I’m not in denial of the damage I’ve done and I realise what a terrible thing denial is. Three of the guys in my DVIP group are in very deep denial, each week they trot out their little scripts of why it wasn’t wrong as to what they did or that this “punishment” is overly excessive as they didn’t do much wrong or that it’s their wife’s knee jerk reaction to a small problem and this is overkill.

We are all in the group because we have been convicted, we committed a violent crime against our partners, fortunately, the police feel that the visible extent of our crimes are such that we could be prevented from doing so in the future and be rehabilitated, but that only works with acceptance.

I’ve come to the conclusion that denial is the worst thing possible with this and I see denial at work all the time with people. Frankly, it holds you back, it’s like your living in a veiled past that stops you from really moving forwards and having happiness. I’d like to guide my wife and children into being free of denial – it will be interesting to see if I pick up those skills.