Understanding your family background helps you make connections between your past experiences and your present behaviour.
What do you see in your own violent behaviour now that connects with your own childhood experiences?
• Any negative feelings experienced, or your reactions to being abused, are just like those your partner(s) might feel when they are being abused.
• What you felt like as a child, witnessing your mother or father’s violence, is what your own children feel when you are violet, frightening or intimidating.
• Your past experiences of violence does not excuse your own current violence, but it can help you understand your own violent behaviour, which could be leading to your own son or daughter’s behaviour.
• Physical “disciplining” is no justification for abusive behaviour. It is not “necessary” in teaching children.
• It is not disloyal to question your parents’ methods of disciplining children. Your parents probably did the best they knew how, it was probably the only way they knew.
Abusive behaviour does not “just happen” See previous post here:
• It is fed by abusive beliefs and intentions
• It is supported by denial, blame and excuses
• It affects others
• It is possible to choose a non-abusive alternative (as mentioned in my previous post)
Personal Plan for Change:
• Take a blank sheet of paper
• Across the top of the sheet of paper write: Plan for Personal Change (Heading)
• Directly below your heading, write your name in big, bold letters
• Draw two columns on your page below your heading and your name
• The column on your left should be called “Changes I need to make”
• The column on your right should be called “How I will change” (what I need to do)
Remember that your plan can be as long as you need it to be. You are free to add additional items as you go along and learn more about yourself and your behaviour.
This Personal Plan for Change is a written record of the goals (Changes I need to make) and (How I will change) to which you are committing yourself in order to become the best you can be and to stop your abusive behaviour.
The steps you take and which you commit yourself to must be realistic and should be focussed on changing specific abusive behaviour, for example: by asking: “What behaviour would my spouse want me to change?”
During this process, when an issue arises, tur it into a goal for you to work on which you write down (add to) your Plan for Personal Change.
Family background questions to ask yourself (find a quiet place where you will not be disturbed to think about these questions in order to answer them). Give yourself time to think about each question.
1. How were emotions expressed in your family?
2. As a child, what was the one phrase you remember hearing most often from your parents?
3. How were you praised? Criticised?
4. How is your present behaviour affected by your family of origin (i.e. your parents and siblings). What emotions, thoughts and behaviours come from growing up in that family?
5. In what way are you similar to your dad? In what ways are you similar to your mom?
6. How did individuals in your family handle anger?
7. How did individuals in your family solve conflicts?
8. What methods of discipline were used?
9. How did you react or respond to the discipline?
10. How did individuals in your family express love and affection?
11. Think about the way children were treated in your family of origin (how did your parents treat you and your siblings) – and the way you now treat your children. What is the same? What is different?