I was a child who witnessed domestic violence and drug use from a very young age. For me, violence was a learned behavior. I never saw myself as a bad person, but doing bad things was acceptable for me. I didn’t see it as a problem. I definitely saw a shift in what I thought was socially acceptable towards domestic violence after doing a lengthy prison sentence for stabbing somebody. I came out of that situation with a lot of anger and I honestly didn’t know how to process and deal with it until recently.
In every relationship that I have been in as an adult, I’ve been selfish, irresponsible, unfaithful, physically and mentally abusive to my partners. My abuse has caused my victims fear and the feeling of constantly walking on eggshells. It’s affected their work and caused financial loss. My abuse has caused my victims to lose their self-worth. My behavior has taught my son that it’s okay to be abusive which has cost him relationships with friends and family.
One night I chose to drink until I blacked out and tried to kill my ex-girlfriend over a game we were arguing about. I woke up the next morning with a hangover and realized that I was in jail. Not knowing what I was in jail for was pretty concerning. It was in that moment that I realized I needed to make some serious changes in my life. When I finally got out of jail, made the decision to stay sober, get help with my anger and struggle with domestic violence, I reached out to ARMS.
I’ll be pretty honest, when I first started the program, I was highly resistant to change and overly argumentative. The longer I stayed in the program and as I saw people changing around me, I became more open and receptive to the idea that if I’d actually take this program seriously, I may become a better person. Once I was able to listen with an open mind to the content, I saw there was useful information in the program that actually helps me even today.
The main things that I have taken from my ARMS ManKind classes is the ability to communicate openly to my partner, have rational conversations without being defensive or having to put up my guard, and stop assuming my girlfriend is against me.
In my past, I have done some pretty horrible things to the people around me. I used to believe I was always right and that manipulation was no big deal but I learned, I’m not always right and that’s okay. Abuse in any form is never okay.
I am fully responsible for my abuse. I made the choice to abuse every single time. No one made me be abusive but I’m living proof that people can change if they want to and are willing to put in the hard work. I learned to have a healthy, loving, normal adult relationship, but couldn’t have done it without the help of the Mankind Program.
I also realize just because I went though ARMS doesn’t mean I’m all of a sudden cured. I still have my daily struggles, I still get pissed off in traffic, but I’m not running around beating people up anymore. Another thing that I have taken from ARMS is I’m not a bad person. Yes, I’ve done bad things in the past.
It feels good to know I could grow and change from the person that I used to be! I am sincerely thankful for the ARMS team.