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 Jim's Story (Abuser)

We were high school sweethearts, and married shortly after Judi graduated. The abuse had started before we married, but escalated rapidly afterwards. When she found out she was pregnant, she left me and filed for divorce.

 I began to form a relationship with our son, Jeff, during his teen years. That bond has grown into an unbelievable father-son bond. Because of that relationship, and the desire from both Judi and I to co-parent, some communication was opened up between the two of us as parental figures. I believed that I had come to a place of repentance in regards to the abusive way I had treated her during our marriage. On several occasions, I had asked her to forgive me. Her response was always "Yes" but the feeling I got was "I will never trust you."

 In 2001, I attended a four-day experiential workshop that focused on the way we "do" relationships.  During that weekend I became very clear (heart clear—not head clear) for the first time about the impact my actions had on other people. The low expectations I had for my life came from a sense of insecurity; that insecurity was fostered by seeds of abuse that were planted years before, along with my half-hearted ownership for my actions. By the end of the weekend I was totally committed to changing my relationships, primarily (I thought) with my current wife and four children.

I wrote and presented a commitment statement to each of them speaking of promise into a real, transparent and authentic relationship. I openly confessed that I wanted "them to know that I knew" there were wounds on their hearts and souls that were totally my responsibility. I expressed that I would do whatever it took to help heal those wounds. I asked my wife, Carol, and both of my former wives, Judi and Linda (my 2nd wife and mother of 2 children and a recipient of my abuse) to hold me accountable for my commitment.

 Upon asking Judi for her commitment to hold me accountable and expressing my ownership and sorrow for the way I had treated her so many years ago, both of us completely broke down. There seemed to be a closure of the past and reconciliation for the future—it was one of the most freeing moments of my life.