How to stop the violence - NOW!
from Learning to Live Without Violence: A Handbook for Men published by Volcano Press. http://www.volcanopress.com/
Source: Daniel Jay Sonkin, Ph.D. Readings, software,
and books for the general public as well as professionals on domestic violence
and childhood abuse. The author provides assessment tools to help individuals
and families recognize violence within thier households. This site is updated
The Time-Out is one method for stopping the violence from now on. This method has been successfully used by many men who have attended our program. All it takes is your conscientious effort to do this exercise faithfully.
Time-Out: Whenever you feel your anger rising, your body getting tense like it is going to explode, or you begin to feel frustrated or out of control, follow these instructions to the "T."
Some topics of conversation may be too charged to talk about. If this is true in your situation, put that issue on the shelf for a while, acknowledging that it is too difficult for the two of you to discuss alone. Take these issues and others to a counselor to get some help working them out. Even if it's an important issue that is making you angry, think of your priorities. Nothing can be more important than stopping the violence!
Let's now look at the different aspects of the Time-Out to see how and why it works.
When there has been violence in a relationship, the trust factor drops significantly. This Time-Out exercise not only helps to stop the violence, but also helps to rebuild trust. Trust takes some time to rebuild. Just because you may take one or two Time-Outs, it doesn't mean that everything is OK. Be patient! Concentrate on identifying your anger and taking your Time-Outs. The rest takes time.
Be sure to tell your wife or lover about the Time-Out and how it works. You might even want to read this chapter aloud and talk about it together. No matter which way you do it, be sure she understands what the Time-Out is, how and why it works.
Time-Outs are hard to do!
Why? Because people grow up to believe that walking away from a fight is a sign of giving in. Your impulse will be to stay and finish it, or at least get in the last word. But, think of what is most important to you. Is it more important to win, or to stop the violence?
Many people have also expressed the fear that their partners will be gone when they return. This is part of the trust building; as each of you follows through with your part in taking a Time-Out, the trust will grow.
The other frequent problem people have with Time-Outs is staying away from alcohol and drugs during their time-out. Many people use alcohol and drugs to treat loneliness, and you may feel quite alone during your Time-Out. Also, alcohol and drugs will numb you to your anger and hurt. Right now you need to stay in touch with those feelings and learn to deal with them in constructive, rather than destructive, ways. Finally, alcohol and drugs can definitely make an argument much worse and you are going to have less control over your feelings and behaviors rather than more control.
Don't drink or Use Drugs!
Although taking Time-Outs may be difficult for you initially, they will get easier with time and practice.
Practice Time-Outs will help you to take your real Time-Out. What's a practice Time-Out? It's the same as a real Time-Out except for two things:
Take three practice Time-Outs and at least one real Time-Out when you are feeling angry, irritated, annoyed or enraged every week while you are working to stop your violence. Yes, every week! And, yes, even when you're just irritated. If you can't take a Time-Out when you don't need it, you will probably not take a Time-Out when you do need it. In addition, when those little irritations are not communicated and dealt with, they build up to full scale angers and rages. Through weekly practice of the Time-Outs you will find it easier to identify your anger, live with it, and avoid violence.