I Am or Might Be Using Violence

Every relationship has its difficulties and occasional conflicts. Most people feel frustrated, disappointed or angry with their partner at some point in a relationship. If your partner feels too intimidated, threatened or afraid to be herself, a healthy relationship becomes impossible. Stopping controlling and intimidating behaviour is the first step towards a happier and safer relationship.

Are You Abusive?

Have you ever:

  • Screamed or shouted at your partner to make her cooperate?
  • Made your partner feel stupid after she expressed her thoughts or opinions?
  • Tried to prevent your partner from wearing something, meeting her friends, getting a job or studying?
  • Not allowed your partner to spend money for her personal use?
  • Slapped, hit, pushed your partner or threatened to do so?
  • Thrown something (e.g. chair or a glass or dishes) in the presence of your partner or children?
  • Accused your partner of paying too much attention to someone else?
  • Pressured your partner to have sex when she didn't want to?
  • Followed or observed your partner without her knowledge?
  • Controlled your partner's online behaviour, e.g. reading her e-mails with or without her knowledge, checking the websites she visits?
  • Checked on your partner's location without her knowing?
  • Controlled the movements of your partner (constantly calling or sending messages continuously or at strange hours)?
  • Mistreated your children, insulting them or physically hurting them?
  • Scared your partner or your children?
  • Threatened to kill yourself, your partner or somebody they love?

All couples have conflicts and disagree at times, but the actions described above are acts of violence and control and you should consider seeking support to stop them.

5 Reasons to Change

Having a hard time understanding why your behaviour is an issue? Changing your violent behavior has many benefits:

  1. You will feel better about yourself and your life. By learning where your destructive actions come from, you will gain a better understanding of your person and your emotions.
  2. You will considerably improve the relationship with your (ex-)partner. Research has shown that the quality of your relationship directly impacts your well-being. And while you might not be able to save the love and trust in your current relationship, your future relationships will benefit incredibly from the work you are doing to change.
  3. You will be a better parent. You might think that you are a good father right now, but even indirect violence harms children in a million invisible ways. Only by changing your behaviour, you can start building a healthy and respectful relationship with your child.
  4. You will make your partner’s life better. Domestic violence has incredibly negative effects on a woman’s life. While every woman experiences violence differently, survivors have exhibited, among other things, PTSD, depression, low self-esteem, chronic pain and insomnia.
  5. You will stop breaking the law. If you don’t change, there is a very real chance that you will experience legal consequences for your actions. A number of abusive men even kill their partners – is life in jail really worth it?

Why Change Is Difficult

Most men enter relationships with good intentions, not to harm their partners. If you've used violence or control in the past, it's important to acknowledge the consequences on others.

Excuses for violent behavior include:

  1. Blaming your partner's actions, even though you decide to react violently.
  2. Using alcohol or drugs as an excuse, even though not every drunk person is violent.
  3. Claiming loss of control, even though you control yourself in other situations.
  4. Repeating patterns from your upbringing, even though you know the pain this causes.

These excuses are walls stopping change. Taking responsibility means honestly admitting the harm you've caused, which is challenging but necessary for positive change. Recognise your actions, take responsibility for your past and future behaviour – it's a crucial step towards transformation.

Where Can You Find Help to Change Your Behaviour?

You are ready to make a change and stop your violent behaviour? Here are simple steps to find support:

  • use our network members or you programme database to find your country and see if there are any programmes near you.
  • If they are in your country, but not in your town, send them an e-mail or call to see if they know of services closer to home. They are used to being contacted about these things.
  • If we don’t have a member organisation in your country, send us an e-mail and we will explore options for a programme that suits your needs in your area.

What Can You Expect from a Perpetrator Programme?

What does a perpetrator programme offer?

  • Group or individual counselling on stopping violent behaviours
  • A safe and non-judgemental space to talk about your experiences and your history
  • Support in learning non-violent communication
  • A chance to make changes that will help improve your relationship with your family
  • Space to learn about what makes you react violently

What doesn’t a perpetrator programme offer?

  • Excuses for your violent behaviour
  • Support in getting custody of your children
  • A chance to pressure your partner into staying with you
  • Support in escaping legal consequences for violent behaviour
  • A way to change your partner
  • Couple’s or family therapy

Last changed: 09.04.2024