Domestic Violence Treatment
Stops Domestic Terror
A Case Study
Violent Husband Is Motivated
To Change When He Realizes
He Could Lose His Family
He worked hard all day at a job that he didn't like, and it seemed to him to be a dead end with no chance for advancement. His work was monotonous...a drudgery that left him frustrated and exhausted. He began to drink alcohol when he left work and, while this provided him with a sense of temporary relief, eventually the frustration and powerlessness he felt in relation to his life became almost unbearable.
His frustration and his anger would routinely come out, and he vented these feelings violently on his wife and their 6-year-old twin daughters when he would return home. He was a big and powerful man who yelled, broke things in the home, and pushed, slapped and verbally abused his wife with increasing frequency. This was normal to him as he had grown up in a family system which was rigidly patriarchal and where he learned from his father that violence against women was the natural order of things.
His children became more and more fearful of him as time passed and eventually attempted to avoid their father completely when he was in the home. His violent behavior escalated in frequency and intensity toward his spouse.
On one occasion, when he was on a tyrannical rampage, neighbors called police and he was arrested and charged with 5th Degree Domestic Assault. He was convicted of the offense, placed on one-year probation and mandated by the court to attend and complete a 24-session Men's Domestic Violence Treatment Program.
DJ was resistant to treatment initially and was unable to acknowledge at the start of the treatment that he had done anything wrong or that he needed anything that the treatment had to offer. He minimized his violent and threatening behavior; after all, he was just acting in the same manner of the male role models that were there throughout his formative earlier years.
In the initial stages of the treatment he was guarded, withholding and resentful that he was being forced to attend. He was impacted by the fact that he was court-ordered to have no contact with his wife and daughters and that he was also to use no alcohol.
After a number of weeks of this resistance and denial, he began to embrace the principles of the treatment. He began to listen more intently, get in touch with and talk about the deep sense of frustration he felt with his job; the dysfunctional, violent and harmful family of origin messages that he acted upon and believed to be normal; and the very real possibility that he could lose his family and end up bitter, afraid and alone.
He was particularly moved when the topic of victim empathy was discussed and he was able to realize the damage he had done to the ones he loved. At one point he became overwhelmed with emotion when relating that he had overheard his daughters telling their mother that they wished their father would leave and never return to the family.
DJ completed the 24-session Men's Domestic Violence treatment and returned to live with his family. He continued to maintain abstinence from alcohol and successfully completed his period of probation.
In his comments as he was leaving treatment he was able to acknowledge the differences in his thinking, his behavior and his life from when he began treatment. He also was able to understand that getting arrested and being mandated to treatment had probably saved his life and had given him back the family that he had lost.
He was able to apply the principles of the treatment to his life. His wife and his children were no longer fearful of him, and when he would become angry and frustrated he was able to maintain control of his behavior to the point that he was not violent or threatening.
The transformation in his thinking and behavior was significant. During the 24 treatment sessions he attended, he came to embrace the idea (one of the treatment guiding beliefs) that domestic violence is never ever justified or appropriate, regardless of the circumstances.
For more information about domestic violence treatment, visit www.enddomesticabuse.org/domestic_violence_trt.php. Partners in Prevention helps couples internationally to recognize, end and heal from domestic abuse. Copyright 2010 Partners in Prevention - Domestic Violence Prevention and Intervention