I HAVE just returned from a family break to read about the closure of the anger management project STOP.
I was horrified to learn about the closure and fear Leeds could end up failing men, women and children who seek out projects like STOP.
The STOP project saved my life, not once but twice.
Many years ago I turned up on STOP’s doorstep crying for help. I was violent in all ways to my husband. Some said it was the baby blues! Some said I suffered post natal depression! Family and close friends just knew I was out of control with my anger towards my husband. I was a very jealous person and I was at times out of control. I was no teenager, I was in my early thirties and I was self destructing my life and that of others especially my husband.
STOP agreed to support me and help me battle what I was doing to myself and others. That was ten years ago. I have long left the support of STOP and have moved on with my now fruitful life. My husband and I are happier and so are my two grown-up children. I developed some clear coping strategies on managing my anger. The group work we engaged in was tough. We were challenged and we did some pretty hard thinking when we did group work exercises. I started to like myself and eventually I loved the new ‘me’. I was thoughtful and took time out whenever I felt angry. I still feel angry at times, who doesn’t. The difference is that I learnt to manage it.
I now know my anger signals that STOP taught all users to recognise in themselves.
I know and I believe deep in my own heart that if it wasn’t for STOP I would have been on the scrapheap now. I urge others who have benefitted from STOP to campaign for it to stay open. I’m writing to my MP. Don’t let the lifeline to us outsiders fail. We deserve the help to help ourselves to change for the best.
Name & address withheld
STOP provides vital service
I READ with deep interest David C Cousin’s letter “Closure of STOP would be devastating for city” (YEP, April 21). He was brave and right to come out and champion the main domestic abuse project in Leeds, STOP (Start Treating Others Positively).
I was a horrible, violent man. I hurt people around me – my family, my friends and my workmates. People didn’t like me – I didn’t like me! Who could blame them? STOP accepted me, and Kathy Grogan encouraged me to keep attending even when I felt like a victim at times. Of course I am not a victim, I was the perpetrator of the violence. Just ask those who knew me. I was horrible to live with, to socialise with and to work alongside.
I was lucky. One day I saw my eldest son behave just like me towards his mum. While he ranted and raged at her, his mum flinched and flickered at his violent behaviour. I knew then I had to get help. I had destroyed the very people I loved.
STOP embraced my struggles and for over a year of attending STOP I was challenged weekly, yet encouraged to still return to learn new skills on how to manage my anger. STOP was never judgmental towards anyone and even spoke regularly to my then wife. She deserved to be informed about my developments. My son got better as soon as I left the family home. STOP taught me and others to explore ways of talking to our children who were so often damaged by our negative and violent behaviour.
What did I really learn from attending STOP?
Well, what I did learn was violence didn’t just come in the shape of physical abuse. It came in the shape of emotional, psychological, financial, verbal, sexual and even spiritual abuse. I was taught to manage anger controlling techniques, dealing with irrational beliefs and rebuilding constructive relationships etc.
Yes, I believe that STOP saved my life. It didn’t save my marriage but I now see my three beautiful children regularly and I now respect the mother of my children. I have a new job, I’m, still single but I am happy. I now strive to be a better person.
Please, please, help this vital service continue.
Name & address withheld
Don’t return hire car unchecked
IN OCTOBER 2013 I had to travel to Leeds for five days for a funeral.
I hired a car at the airport. My flight back to Spain was early and their hire desk was not open so I was unable to have the car checked back in by their staff. Because of this I carefully made sure that there was no damage to the vehicle before parking it in their own car park and dropping the keys in the box provided.
However, shortly after they took from my credit card the full excess amount of £250 plus a £27 administration fee, saying there was minor damage to the bumper, which I am adamant that there was not. We argued for five months, but as it was their word against mine, I have had to stand the charge, but I resent the implication that I am a liar.
I would urge your readers to never return a hire car unchecked, but also to take photos of its condition when you collect it.
Michael Holdsworth, San Javier, Murcia, Spain
Royal reporting a return to 1953
IF YOU need a good laugh just listen to the Royal commentary by Nicholas Witchell and Tim Ewart on the current tour of Australia. The reverence combined with humility is truly awesome in the real sense of the word. It’s like being transported back to 1953.
Anybody would think that baby is going to be King one day. It’s like listening to an English Language Phd dissertation. A part-time job for Malcolm Nicholson, perhaps?
R Kimble, by email
Putting accent on Tour safety
AS A potential crowd controller on the Tour route, and despite dire official warnings to desist from addressing my clients as “love”, “chuck”, “pal” or “mate” or any other overly familiar term, I shall nevertheless aim to offer a highly efficient safety service in crowd protection.
In the event that spectators are aimlessly wandering over the road as a bunch of head-down bikers approaches at 40 mph, I have been practicing my urgent emergency warning – I quote: “Nahthen heyoop sitherere you lot. Get thissens off t’blasted rooad an’ get yer backsides ower yon flamin’ wall afore t’pelican gets ‘ere an’ shunts y’all to Kingdom come. Frame thissens – ah sant say it ageean”.
This will, I am sure achieve the required effect, and may even encourage foreigners from the South and even further afield to stay a few more days to learn the local lingo, thus contributing to the forecast two day income of £100m.
Vernon Wood, by email
WHAT’S HAPPENED with this Government with regard to the miners where 1,300 are to lose their jobs because the Government won’t give them £20m and expect them to pay it back?
They gave £500m to Syria and don’t expect it back and yet they cannot give the hardworking Yorkshire miners £20m. Where did they get the £500m from, since we are so hard up?
The Eton and Harrow men in charge only think of money for themselves. It is time we got some older men in charge who realise the value of money and not the idiots in charge now.
Stephen Cocker, Redmire Court, Leeds
MY name is Janet Harford, nee Wilson, and am trying to arrange a primary school reunion – 50 years down the line! We started at Holy Trinity Primary, in Cookridge, in 1964 when it opened. We are hoping to hold the reunion in September and are trying to find former pupils. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Janet Harford, by email