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I Never Want To Be The Person I Was Before

I was married for 16 years and then I got divorced. Somewhere I lost myself because I stopped talking and listening to my wife. Even if she had a small problem, my attitude was I only have my life, my way and my responsibilities. I didn't have time for her, or for my son.

Social care got involved because the school said I beat my son. I was shocked. It wasn’t true but it was too late. It was the social care woman who told me about the sessions. I went because she had to have an absolutely positive opinion about me and about the situation with my son. Although to be honest, when I started the sessions I thought, this is a waste of my time. I don’t get it. Why am I here? I thought that nobody could be in a similar situation to me… so it was actually nice to hear from guys who had similar problems.

Before I came to these meetings I never admitted to my mistakes, but Beatrice and Kerry have opened my eyes. They’ve shown me what I did wrong and what I can do to improve. It helped that they explained different points of view, like from the women's perspective and as well as from the men's. I took away positive things from the sessions and I learned a lot. There was one session where Kerry and Beatrice said if there is something that we don’t like then just talk to them. So at one point we asked if we could stop and they listened and made some changes. It's great when you have a problem and you have good people who listen to you.

These sessions have changed lots and lots of things in my life. Before, when I was in a situation that I didn't like, I used alcohol to help me cope. I was aggressive and I would shout. I never tried to keep a normal level to my voice, and when I had a bad day I’d punch the wall or the door. I don’t do that anymore. Beatrice and Kerry said it’s best to find strategies; so now if I have a situation that I don’t like I can just go outside, go for a walk, listen to music. Then within a couple of minutes I come back and I can continue the conversation.

My ex-wife sees the change in me now. So does my son. It’s like before I did this course, I couldn't even accept it if my son didn’t play football the way I wanted to see him play. I’d say to his face, ‘I don’t like to lose games’ or ‘you can play better.’ I wasn't motivating him. But now, even if he has bad days, I always tell him ‘you played well.’ There's so many times we forget that the child is observing us but if we want to show them positive behaviour then we’ve got to be the ones to demonstrate it. My son is absolutely the best thing in my life and my relationship with him is getting stronger.

The sessions have even changed the way I’m looking at relationships for the future. I didn’t understand how a lot of things can destroy a relationship, now I understand what the other person needs and what I need as well. I want to be better for a new partner, better at spending more time with people and better at communication. One thing I know is that we need to absolutely always talk about anything, any small problem, so it doesn’t become a big problem.

Altogether I had sixteen sessions. It was good that it kept going because one or two sessions don’t help you, no chance! You need time. In fact, after I had spent a couple of months going to the sessions, the social worker was quite happy because of what she was seeing. I’m quite happy too because the sessions have absolutely helped me. I know I never want to be the person I was before. I’ve still got to work on myself but I also know there’s lots and lots of good things out there waiting for me.

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