There are a number of key ideas discussed within this site...
The first idea is 'responsibility'. In my view responsibility is the ability to respond to situations that we find challenging and distressing. Throughout this site you will find a lot of material around developing skills that will help you to respond respectfully and safely in situations that are tough to manage.
One of the key responsibilities we have as men within our relationships is to ensure everyone is safe and that we do not increase worry and anxiety in others. Ask yourself the following question at any time to test this out...
“Is my behaviour creating worry and anxiety in others... or
is my behaviour creating safety and well-being?”
The second idea that you will see throughout this site is accountability. We often talk about accountability being something in the past, e.g. "men need to be accountable for their behaviour" or "we need to hold men accountable..." etc. While this is true I prefer to see accountability as forward thinking. This involves considering the impact of our 'intended' behaviour, or our 'future' behaviour on others. If I know that becoming loud and abusive in my relationship creates mistrust and unease, then when I feel myself going down that route , I can consider what I want in the long term and change my behaviour to match.
Most men I have worked with say their long term outcome or goal is about having a happy and meaningful relationship with their partner and children. There challenge is seeing how abusive practices get in the way and what they can do to change this.
The third key idea is privileging. Privileging is giving space to the viewpoints of others.
Instead of blocking out or not thinking about the impact of abusive practices on others (especially partners and children) we need to see things from their perspectives and try and truly understand their experience.
It's not easy to hear the impact of abusive practices on others. However unless we do this we will never fully appreciate the depth of hurt that occurs when abusive practices come into a family. Many men tell me that they grew up with abusive practices in their own family of origin. No one heard or took the time to listen to their story of worry, hurt, pain and fear. They tell me that they would have liked someone to have heard and 'privileged' their experience, that is to have brought out from behind closed doors what it was like for them.
Position taking is concept that I find really useful in my own relationship. We can often find ourselves becoming very stuck in our own position around issues. We can sometimes find ourselves arguing for something that we know deep inside is not even right.
The position I am asking you to take is one of openness to exploring possibilities.
Are you up for the challenge?
I am not for one moment asking you to agree with everything that is presented within this site. I do ask however that you seriously consider each strategy and see how you might apply it in your life. These strategies have emerged from the wisdom of hundreds of men who have overcome abusive practices in their lives. You will be joining them in an exciting tradition of pioneering safety within their relationships.
Have you ever felt intoxicated by rage or anger?
Enough introduction... Let's get to work!
Ken McMaster (MSW Hons, CQSW, MANZASW) has a thirty year history working at the cutting edge of intervention work with men who are violent and who sexually abuse.
Suzi Hall (M.A. Psych) has a background of working in child protection and forensic interviewing of children with Child Youth and Family Services.
Matt Williams (BTcLn, NCALNE) has a 15 year history working within the social service and criminal justice sectors as a trainer and program developer.