Anger Management
GMTV – Clip 2
3rd November 2008
00:00 gmtv
00:00 Presenter
First, though, here’s a statistic that might shock you – I’m sure it will. According to Home Office research, one in six men will be victims of domestic abuse at the hands of their partner – a subject that’s investigated in ITV1’s Tonight programme this evening. With me now, Florence Terry, who admits that for years she used to regularly attack her own husband behind closed doors.
00:19 It’s great that you’re here talking about this, do you know that? Because it’s one of these things that is kind of shoved away in the background, and nobody airs it and nobody talks about it. I think, just like there’s still unfortunately a sense of shame for women getting battered, it’s the same for men – maybe more so, do you think?
Used to be violent towards her husband
00:37 Florence Terry
Certainly my husband was very ashamed. He was ashamed for me, thinking what would people think of me if they knew how I was? And he was ashamed himself, thinking that it reflected badly on him as a husband. He thought that if he was a good husband, then his wife would be happy and wouldn’t be getting so cross.
00:57 Presenter
Do you think were you taking out your anger on the world on him, or was it him specifically you were annoyed with? How did it manifest itself?
01:02 Florence Terry
Okay. So four years ago I went on anger management, and I can now answer the question differently than I did then. So at the time part of me thought that it was about him – that he was so annoying! And when I went to the anger management course it was very clear to me that actually it wasn’t about him; it was the straw that set me off, that triggered me, but actually it was because I was too stressed, I was too tired, I was beating myself up with negative self-talk and stuff.
01:32 Presenter
Yeah. And he was the one closest to you, I guess! (Yeah) How is it, though – I mean, did you just kind of thump him? I mean, because is he a big man? And he would never, obviously, hit you back?
01:44 Florence Terry
No, he wouldn’t.
01:44 Presenter
He would just take it?
01:46 Florence Terry
Yes, he’s a gentle giant. And it would be just suddenly when I’d lose my temper, and then I’d be flailing, and then I’d be back to nowhere.
01:56 Presenter
It must have been very difficult afterwards. Because what do you do? Were you able to talk about it to him? Were you able to sort of say, `I’m so sorry, I don’t know what got into me’? How did you move on from those incidents and try and get back to some sort of normality?.
02:09 Florence Terry
I found it really, really difficult. He had more knowledge of me than I did, so he would say, `I understand. You know, it’s all right! It’s over. Just be as sweet as you can be,’ was his phrase! But for me, how could I – I couldn’t understand how: I loved him, I could see that he was just human and that he did loads of things that were good and some things that were annoying: how come, as somebody who wanted to behave appropriately, I sometimes lost control?
02:37 And then how – because I never used a weapon, how was it that, if I could control myself not to pick up a weapon, as I claimed that I was out of control when I hit him? So it was a lot of self-questioning, which made me more ashamed.
02:51 Presenter
Because that’s the thing. It is the shame. And you’re right: you know, you’d be ashamed, he’d be ashamed. He wouldn’t be able to talk about it to anyone else, presumably.
02:56 Florence Terry
Oh, no!
02:57 Presenter
And because that’s the thing: you just don’t. How did you manage to get help?
03:02 Florence Terry
Well, it was hard to get help because I couldn’t tell anyone that I’d got the problem.
03:05 Presenter
Right, exactly, yeah!
03:06 Florence Terry
So that is partly why I’m here today: because I’m hoping that people will think, `Okay, so it’s an inappropriate thing to do. Don’t want to do it. But actually I can talk about it. There are other people doing it.’ Because I asked indirect questions – not quite, you know, `My friend’s got a problem,’ but that type of thing.
03:22 Presenter
But that sort of thing, yeah.
03:23 Florence Terry
Which meant that it took me literally years, because I found out about probation services; but Paul wasn’t reporting me to the police, so that wasn’t going to help me! I found out about men’s centres; but they only took men who were violent. And it was four years before a leaflet came through the door at work – because I’m a divorce lawyer and mediator, and there’s counsellors there – and it was a British Association of Anger Management leaflet. And I went on the web and saw that they took angry women as well, and signed myself up.
03:53 Presenter
Good for you to actually do that! How strange, because you would be in the position in your job of seeing this from both angles, I guess.
03:59 Florence Terry
Oh, I know!
04:00 Presenter
It’s just so ironic in a sense, but in a way that’s probably why you managed to get help. And it’s fantastic that you’re here talking about it, because I do think there will be people watching today who are in the same position and feel that they’re the only ones, and also that there isn’t any help. What would you suggest that they do? What would be the best thing for them to do?
04:16 Florence Terry
I think anger management is really important. Because I’d tried self-help books, and it’s hard to help yourself. You know, if you could help yourself, then you wouldn’t be having the problem, probably!
04:28 Presenter
Sure, absolutely.
04:30 Florence Terry
And I’m not saying that self-help books aren’t helpful – they are. But to be in a group of other people. And a lot of it’s about understanding yourself, and other people can help you understand yourself. And a lot of it’s understanding other people. When you realise that actually other people tick because of something very different. You know, if I did X, that would be hostile; but if they do it, it’s not.
04:51 Presenter
Right, okay.
04:52 Florence Terry
And so when you can understand more about other people, you’re less likely to take things personally. So.
04:57 Presenter
Well, I think it’s wonderful that you’re here. And obviously all the details – and I know that you do help as well – we’ll stick them all on our website so that people can do wonderful things technology-wise and actually get more information! Thank you so, so much. Thank you for coming.