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He Believes What He Says
When he says he is sorry and he will never hit you again, he means it. He really believes it with all his heart. That is why he is so charismatic and believable. He means it when he says he loves you and he is agonizingly sorry for what he has done. You are not stupid for falling for his promises that it will never happen again. He falls for them too. He really believes those promises will be kept. That is part of his anger later; he knows how much he wanted it to be true.
Few men who beat up their wives or their children want to do so. Yes, there are a few twisted individuals who enjoy it, but most are not like that. They were often raised in violent families and somewhere in the deepest level of their mind is a little program that runs on autopilot telling them, “This is how real men resolve conflicts.” They hate is as much as you do. They want to believe that with sheer willpower they can stop themselves the next time rage strikes them. Meanwhile, you walk on eggshells trying not to upset them and they blame you for making them mad when it happens again.
The truth is that it is not your fault for upsetting them and it is not their fault for not having enough willpower. The problem lies deep in their childhood scars. They cannot change the dynamic by themselves. You cannot love them enough to make it stop happening either. Yes, love is a powerful healer, but it is never going to heal a problem of that magnitude. They need professional help. Somehow, either through love of you, love of your children, or fear of what they will do the next time it happens… somehow they have to be convinced that it is a sign of strength to seek help rather than to hide away pretending that it will not happen again.
It is often extremely difficult to get these men to attend counseling sessions because many of them suffer from a form of narcissism. They do not want the outside world to see them as flawed and imperfect. “Can’t we keep this our little secret?” They were so wounded as children that they are terrified of people finding out they are not okay. They believe they will not be respected or worthy of love and admiration if they allow the outside world to know what they are capable of behind closed doors.
Many of these men are overachievers. Some are drunks too lazy to work, but many
of these men are pillars of the community. That makes it easier to believe them
when they promise it will never happen again. They have the self-
It is easy to convince people that the town drunk is violent, but unfortunately, nobody is going to believe that a professional articulate leader is secretly beating his wife and kids. This is especially true because the wife and kids put on such a lovely show for the rest of the world, “Here’s our perfect family!” To then suddenly shift directions and claim that he is abusive causes people to question your motives. This adds to the wife and children feeling trapped.
Part of his overachiever fantasy belief about himself is that he could stop if people would just quit pushing his buttons. The fact is everyone gets their buttons pushed sometimes, even by loved ones. Therefore, his desire to control the events that trigger his rage is like trying to insist that it never rain so that you do not have to drive in bad weather. It is an impossible goal and a sign of his belief that he is capable of such grand feats. Expecting you and your children to always be perfect and to never ever annoy him is ludicrous. That is not a real relationship. You become merely puppets in his staged life.
Even if you were capable of behaving in a way that never triggered his anger, the truth is that a bad day at work, an accidental car wreck, something completely beyond your control can still trigger his rage and you are still likely to be the receiver of his anger even if you had nothing to do with it, because he is still trying to maintain his public persona. It is because he loves you and feels safe with you that he gives himself permission to take it out on you. It is not your fault that he cannot handle his anger issues. Nobody is clever enough, careful enough, funny enough, sexy enough, nurturing enough, loving enough, etc. to fix his entire world so that he never has to have a bad day.
This article is not about how to escape, but about the man’s belief that he is capable
He really believes his vow to never allow himself to hurt you again. I am not saying you should forgive and forget, and trust him over and over again. You or one of your children could very well end up in the hospital or even dead. I am saying that the reason he is so believable and it is so easy for you to fall for his promises again and again, is because he really truly means it from the depth of his heart and soul.
He really does not want to hurt you or the kids ever again. He does love you. It is his mental health problem, not yours. You can believe him that he means it, know that he wants to keep his promises to you, understand him better, and even find forgiveness in your heart. Most importantly, you can forgive yourself for wanting so much for his promises to come true.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with you for wanting the relationship to work out and wanting to believe that this time he will be able to control himself. However, you still have to be smart and protect yourself and your children. Educate yourself about the dynamic you are going through. Find resources, even if they are with strangers at a shelter. They will believe you and they can help you.
Love him, forgive him, encourage him to get professional help, but do not stay in danger any longer.
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This one article is NOT included in “Love’s Dance” because it will be included in another book about domestic violence at a later time.