My wife said if I didn’t sort my crap, it was over. She had said this before, but I brushed it off. But my kids and my wife gave me an ultimatum this time, and so I decided that I needed to do something.
I knew I wasn’t dealing with things. The smallest things set me off. Family noticed for sure, but when friends started to notice, that was embarrassing. I just couldn’t control my anger, I was angry all the time and it wouldn’t take much to set me off. I verbally abused people and my family was suffering. I had things going on that I wasn’t dealing with and so between what I knew I was going through and what my wife asked me to do, I finally decided to deal to things.
SVS Living Safe [now RISE] was the first result at the top of my search. I went to their website and sent an email from their contact page. I joined a group with other men to talk about what was happening with me.
Every Tuesday for four months I went to a group session. It was really hard to go, a bit awkward. You don’t know if you know anyone else there. Even though it’s confidential, I was concerned that if I knew someone, they would know this secret about me. I would have to explain what I’d been hiding, the type of person I had become, the type of person I am at home. People don’t know what you’re really like at home, they don’t see that. What people see outside your home is different, it’s better than what goes on inside.
And, of course, I did see someone in the group that I knew. I think we were both surprised. We talked about it once and then it was normal after that. I was happy about that.
It got easier to go every Tuesday week after week. I gained more confidence. I became more open just from talking. Everyone was there because they needed help and they needed to realise that they needed help. In the first few sessions we watched videos about violence and verbal violence. It hit home to every one of us that this was why we were there. We talked about our experiences, our anger, and what made us angry. They taught us how to figure out what our trigger points are and what sets them off.
I learned that one key trigger for me was coming home from work and seeing people at the house. My kids had friends over and that would trigger me. I just wanted to come home and relax, but the house was always full of kids and noise. I wanted my own time, space between work and home. But I wasn’t thinking about how it was for my kids to see me come home and be instantly angry. They saw me walk in the door and they thought I was angry to see them, that I didn’t want them there, that I didn’t want to see them. My wife said it’s normal for kids to have their friends over. Of course, all of this made sense to me when I looked at the situation from their perspective. And I understood how they saw me every time I walked through the door, and I didn’t want my kids to think that way about me.
I have learned what bothers me and how to deal with those things. I take time now instead of stewing to a boiling point. Sometimes, I leave the room and sit down and take a time out. Other times I know it’s because I need sleep, if I don’t sleep I get stressed out. Or I might need to deal with the pressure of work and calm down before I walk through the door at home. I’ve learned to ring or text my wife to see if the kids have their friends over, especially on stressful days at work. If they do, I’ll fill in the time with an errand. I take time for myself when the kids are busy, then when I get home, the kids want me to be there after their friends leave and we can have time together.
My wife says I’m much more relaxed and calm now. And that I’m open, I open up to her more about how I feel. We’ve had some issues in our relationship in the past and we’re both still working on that, but we are very positive about our future.
What surprised me the most is that I realised what am now doing is so much easier than being angry and lashing out all the time. Being relaxed instead of carrying so much anger around makes your whole life better, your home and your work and everything else. It’s so much easier to not be angry.
SVS Living Safe has done a lot for me, now I feel hopeful about my future.
*Name changed to protect the client's privacy.