When I first attended the ARMS ManKind group, I didn’t believe that I had a cycle of abuse. In fact, I didn’t believe I was very abusive at all.
I didn’t know how abusive I was or how my actions affected those around me. I disregarded others feelings because I was preoccupied, doing things I cared about. I would break things out of anger, stop my wife from leaving our home and often bullied people on the internet.
It took losing two very close friends and being arrested for violating a no contact order before I was willing to consider the possibility that there was something wrong with me and my attitude.
While attending the Mankind classes, I began to see how the lessons could be applied to my life. With a little help, I was able to understand all the types of abuse and identify my abuse.
Once I started applying the things learned, I realized I was no longer choosing to see myself as the victim. I am able to make good choices in difficult situations. These changes make me feel good about myself.
I have realized that ARMS isn’t just about being taught how to behave by the facilitators, it’s also about learning from others who have been in my place and have experienced change in their lives. At first I wasn’t too comfortable with the idea of having to share with others in the group. But when I listened to the other men share how they have treated their partners, I saw myself and I knew I needed to change. When I finally began to open up, it wasn’t so bad – in fact it was often encouraging. I have learned I am not alone or some helpless outcast. There is hope for me and my future.