I believe, however, that the urge to control never leaves, although it greatly lessens. Therefore, to prevent this, you must always be keenly aware of your need to control. When you have completed therapy, your ways of controlling can become more subtle. You will know that control is the basis of abuse, and still not be aware that you are in the controlling mode. Indeed, you may learn many psychological methods of controlling from your counselling. Knowledge breeds power, and power breeds control. I am convinced, however, that having gone through counselling, and always being on the alert for controlling your partner, or your children, you will succeed in creating a non-abusive relationship. I suggest that you ask your partner or your children to help you, and challenge you if they suspect control. I am certain that your shame and rage will abate and your self-esteem will grow after such considerable effort.
Your final and very difficult task will be to forgive yourself. This is vital if you are to move on and establish loving relationships. But, even recognising that you need self-forgiveness is a sign that you are now cognitively and emotionally aware of your history of abuse, and the damage it has caused. I think that the aid of an empathic counsellor will be necessary to help you forgive yourself. At that stage, you will indeed have lopped the heads off that many-headed monster – abuse.
Adapted from Jim O’Shea’s book Abuse. Domestic Violence, Workplace and School Bullying published by Cork University Press
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DEATH OF A CHILD