Mark’s Story

When Mark started DAP’s therapy program for men he did not take responsibility for his abusive behavior against his wife.  He had never hurt her in any way.  His story was that the police had been called by his neighbors because he and his wife were partying, just being noisy and too loud.

Despite his resentment at being ordered to attend domestic abuse classes, he was not resistant to the process.  In fact, he was very engaged and tried very hard in group to take in as much as he could and learn from the materials.  However, he seemed to set himself apart from the group, because he believed he was not like the other guys, he had never been abusive.

Near the completion of the therapy group, men are expected to deliver a “taking responsibility story” to the group.  I was unsure as to what kind of story I would get, but Mark surprised us all.

He started by talking about abuse that he had perpetrated upon his wife 13 years ago that led to his first arrest. They were dating at the time and she had just given birth to their first child. He had grabbed and pushed her while holding the baby, he threatened her, he hurt her, he screamed at her, he vandalized her car, and he told her every chance he got how he was having affairs with other women.

Eventually Mark was arrested for domestic abuse but he denied it ever happened.  He told everyone they knew that she was lying because she was angry about his extramarital relationships and everyone believed him.  He said she was crazy and made everything up.  She lost many friends as a result and lost the respect of his family, as they all look down on her for making up this story and getting him into trouble for it.

As Mark told his story he became tearful and had a hard time hearing his own words out loud.  He finally acknowledged that he had abused his wife.  He apologized to his wife.   He told everyone they know that he had been lying and her stories of abuse are real.  He cleared her name.

I saw how difficult this was for Mark as it was reversing a lie that he had been telling for 13 years.  Admitting to his lies damaged some of his relationships with his family and friends.  But because of the support he was receiving from the other men in the group, he was able to take responsibility for his actions.  He had learned that unless he takes responsibility, change isn’t possible.

L.H. – DAP Men’s Program Therapist