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Non-violence programmes not just for ‘violent’ men: one man’s message

Following is a social media post written by a young man who participated in Shine’s No Excuses non-violence programme, and is shared with his permission. We hope that sharing this post will help more people seek help for problem behaviours in relationships. While non-violence programmes address physical abuse and violence, their focus is on helping people to understand and change a range of controlling and emotionally abusive and behaviours, and hence can be helpful for people like this man who had never physically assaulted his girlfriend.

Whenever I got into a disagreement, I would yell, throw things and just be straight up abusive and intimidating. I blamed everyone but myself. When I got stressed, I shut myself off and ended up exploding when it all got too much. Which ultimately made me more upset, stressed and depressed.

People shut me out of their lives and I had no idea why. This carried on for years. I damaged many relationships and myself.

A few years ago, my partner suggested I go to Shine’s No Excuses programme. I thought “why the f*** would I go to that?” But I went anyway, and after one session I identified many terrible behaviours I used to belittle people so I could win the argument. I broke down, because I finally understood why people had given up trying with me - they were sick of my bulls***.

This wasn’t a cure, but a glimpse of hope there was a better way to live life. I only wish I did this programme sooner. I want to say, from the bottom of my heart, I am so sorry to anyone and everyone that I have hurt.

There are people out there that need help identifying their problem behaviours and learning better ways of dealing with emotions. You are not alone.

Thank you to my girlfriend for seeing me through and giving me love and support. You truly changed my life for the better and I can’t thank you enough.

We strongly recommend that people concerned about their abusive behavior seek help from specialist non-violence programmes, and not from counsellors who are not specialists. Some programme providers have group and individual programme options. Find a non-violence programme near you by ringing Shine Helpline, or searching under family violence the Family Services Directory at: https://familyservices.govt.nz/directory/