I am feeling frustrated. I separated from my husband and we have been living apart. He signed up for “anger management” classes. Most of the men in it are court ordered, but he volunteered. I am going to groups for the partners of these men.

When I visited with the counselors over the phone last fall I felt they were very helpful in getting me to recognize that my husband was verbally abusive and women who are physically abused complain that the verbal abuse is often worse than the physical.

The counselors were instrumental in helping me make a plan to move off of square one. Square one for me was just continuing to live with him and trying to make myself a better person. I had been doing that for years.

Anyway, I have been going to the groups, but I don’t feel like I am learning anything. And my husband has been going to the men’s groups and I am concerned that he is not getting what he needs. I have spoken to the counselors a couple times about this and they assure me that the guys will be learning new skills….and I realize that my hubby could just not “get it.” But I am feeling if his experience is anything like mine….it isn’t giving him what he needs.

When I talked to one of the counselors for the men he said that “anger management” doesn’t work. But that the courts and the general public continue to call these classes anger management. He said if a guy just learns to count to ten or walk away he is still angry and he is probably engaging in negative self talk while he takes a time out. He is probably just reinforcing himself that his wife is the one who is wrong, stupid, etc. So he is still angry when he comes back and it leaves his partner hanging, unable to resolve the issue, while he walks away. So counselor say that the purpose of these classes it to change the thinking that goes along with the anger. If you change the way you think, you change the way you feel. [Academically this is named cognitive restructuring.]

I was hoping they have handouts, themes and more structure to the the session. I was told that most people don’t like this structure…but I think that hubby and I do like this kind of thing. We like things to be organized and we are both academic. 

I don’t feel like going back to my women’s support group but I keep going because I want hubby to keep going to his men’s group.  I don’t want to quit mine because I don’t want him to quit his. 

Getting people help and out of a dangerous situation is good, but I feel like we are just telling our stories over and over and not moving. I feel like some people do a lot of talking and maybe they need it, but I rarely get the time to say what is one my mind or what I need help with. Or that I am learning new ways to deal with angry people. Maybe I got what I needed a couple months ago. But now, I don’t want to quit because I want it to be a way to show my hubby that I am supportive of his going to the groups.

I am feeling very disappointed and discouraged.