I have always been known as the guy who never did anything right, as a kid I got in trouble with the police, got in trouble at school … if someone could screw it up it was me. My first sense of doing something right, that I felt proud about, was when I got married.…someone was going to marry this guy.
When I got married, it was bad from day one, probably had been bad even before that. I took everything out on the people who cared about me, my wife and my kids. I did bad things to them. I have a lot of shame and guilt that doesn’t go away. My wife was too afraid to ask me to change, my daughters couldn’t either – imagine your kids being afraid of their dad.
Children’s Aid got involved and told me I couldn’t live at home anymore. I needed to change if I wanted to be a part of my family. I called lots of places but no one could help me until I came to the Thunder Bay Counselling Centre. I stayed mad for a long time but eventually, something in me began to change. My counsellor once asked me “looking back on the changes you’ve made what do you think made the difference?” … it took me a while to answer her. In fact it took a number of sessions before I realized that the difference was when I knew it was my responsibility to keep my family safe from me. What a scary realization. During my counselling sessions I learned positive coping skills and was able to talk through some of the issues that caused me to lash out at my family. I learned ways to cope with my own internal issues and ways to diffuse my anger and negative actions. It has changed my life and the lives of my family. My wife and kids also got help there too. They needed to feel safe in their day to day life.
I still have a long way to go and am still learning but we now have a healthier and happier relationship. Everyone deserves to live a life free of violence and most importantly we are a family again.