Medical Questions > Relationships > Troubled and Abusive Relationships Forum

Can Abusers Change? (Page 1)

I know that in an abusive relationship.. The the abuser always says hes going to change..And the victim accepts him and the cycle continues.

All I want to ask is... My husband and I are seperated rite now.. And I kno I dont want to get back with him..B/c I dont want the cycle to repeat.. We talked recently and we talked about everything..I told him everything that was wrong in our relationship...Why we are apart..And how he has a problem.. He admitted all his faults and told me he knows he just cant run back into my arms unless he has changed.. And although we are apart..He continues to call me and say.. I love you..And that he misses his kid... I cant help but believe him b/c I do feel his words are real.. So the question is.. Can/do abusers change.. Or really learn from their mistakes when they finally lose their partners?.. B/c I still hope that one day we can have a healthy relationship and have a family.. Or shud I lose that hope?And if there is hope... What should I do right now?
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First Helper User Profile change is good
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replied May 19th, 2006
Experienced User
Nope...
Theoretically, yes, it is possible for an abuser to change but is it likely? Hell no!

It takes real commitment and years of therapy to change such ingrained behaviors. It’s like child molesters…they can’t change because it is how their brains were hardwired…

something happened to your x/husband as a child that both made him consciously and unconsciously believe that that is the proper way to behave.

It can be beaten into him that it is “bad” but getting him to actually change and not just have him pretend that he has changed are very different animals.

I guess that it also depends on how he is abusive.

If he hits you then it is anger issues that need to be dealt with.

If he controls your every move/thought then it is dependency issues to be dealt with.

If he is emotionally/mentally abusive then it is a self-esteem issues and codependency issues that needs to be dealt with.

If it is substance abuse then he probably has a little bit of all of the above.

All of it requires that he willingly accept that what he is doing is wrong and needs to be corrected then start therapy, in one form or another, to start finding out what happened to him to make him behave/think like that.

I am a very empathic person and, for some reason I don’t understand, inspire trust that leads to everyone I meet telling me their whole life stories so I have had experience with all of the above. I, personally, had to escape a horrible codependent relationship and was horrible mentally/emotionally abused and raped by my x.

Listen/call into love line 1.800.Love.191 (1.800.568.3191) and get Dr. Drew’s advice on the situation. You can learn a lot by listening to other people’s stories and the recommendations of professionals.
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replied February 23rd, 2012
Will he do it again if he stopped drinking?
Please tell me:

I was in an abusive relationship where the guy used to hit me when he was drunk (I admit to not always being innocent in the matter). We have now broken up, and after a very short time he has moved on to another relationship.

He has stopped drinking altogether (which he has done in all his relationships before me and with me as well). As he only became physically aggressive when he was drinking, what are the chances of him also abusing his new girlfriend?
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replied June 15th, 2006
Anybody can change. Anybody! But words arent really enough. Dont end up taking him back and wind up missing... Sorry but it happens. If you really love him and im sure you do hes your husband and father of your child then go to therapy, have him go to anger mangement things like that. Im always an optimist. I mean there is good in everybody, even him, or you wouldnt have married him.
Good luck
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replied March 6th, 2007
Abusive Relations
I NEED SOME ADVICE PLEASE. I DON'T MEAN TO DISH OUT ALL MY BUSINESS BUT I NEED SOMEONE TO TALK TO BECAUSE MY MOM NOT AROUND DUE TO HEALTH REASONS. SO HERE GO I BEEN MARRIED FOR A LITTLE OVER 2 1/2 YEARS. i BEEN WITH HIM FOR 5 YRS. ALL TOGETHER. RECENTLY HE BEEN STRESSED OUT FROM HIS JOB. HE GOT PHYSICAL TOWARDS ME. jUST THE OTHER DAY i recieve BAD NEWS ABOUT MY MOTHER HEALTH conDtion GOT WORST AND ME HAVING panic ATTACKS DISORDER.
. MY HUSBAND CAME HOME FROM WORK AND I SAY A COUPLE OF THINGS THAT GOT TO ME THAT DAY and he FLIP OUT AND GOT PRETTY HOT TEMPER. i TRY TO WALK AWAY BUT HE GOT EVEN MADDER THEN HE GOT PHYSICAL REALLY PHYSICAL THROW ME AROUND AND GRABBING ME HARD. i WAS SCARE, ANGRY, YELLING AND CRYING TO STOP TO LEAVE ME A LONE. hE KEPT SAYING THAT IT MY FAULT AND I SHOULD KNOW NOT TO PUSH HES BUTTONS HE MOTHER WHOM LIVES WITH US SAY THE SAME THING THAT I hassel HIM ALL THE TIME AND I SHOULD JUST GET OFF HIS CASE. i AM SCARE AND AFRAID THE HE WANTS ME OUT OF HIS LIFE. i LOVE HIM AND WANT TO WORK THIS OUT BUT HOW AND WHERE TO GO . I afarid IF I LEAVE HE WON'T GIVE ME MY SON. hE SAY STUFF LIKE I CAN HAVE YOU LOCKUP FOR BEING CRAZY. iS IT ALL MY FAULT I KNOW I CAN DRIVE HIM CRAZY SOMETIMES. i CAN LIKE MOST PEOPLE GET !**@!. I DON'T KNOW ANYMORE WHAT TO DO beacause WHEN I AM AROUND HIM IT LIKE WALKING A EGGSHEELS. nOONE SHOULD HAVE TO LIVE LIKE THIS. I WANT TO GET HIM IN TO GOING TO ANGER MANAGEMENT CLASSES HE THINK HE DON'T NEED IT THAT I DO INSTEAD. HELP WITH ADVICE WOULD BE GOOD THANK FOR LISTENING.
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replied March 7th, 2007
Experienced User
i think it's time for you and you child to leave. i am a recovering abuser and can tell you he will not change as long as he blames you for his problem. that's right, his problem. i know you love him but he will not change and cannot change until he sees it the way things really are. you are not to blame, no matter what his mother and he says. people are responsible for their own actions. you cannot make a person act a certain way. it is a choice. check on-line and i'm sure you will find a support group or organization that will help you and your child leave. you need to be safe and so does your child. you don't have to end your relationship, just get away before you are hurt. if he is willing to change he will accept responsibility for his own actions and stop blaming you.
best of luck to you
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replied March 7th, 2007
THANK FOR YOUR ADVICE MY HUSBAND AGREE TO GET HELP AND FINALLY ADMIT HE IS TO BLAME. WE CAN ONLY TAKE ONE DAY AT A TIME BUT ANYMORE FIGTHING AND I AM LEAVING HIM BEFORE THINGS GET ANY WORSE. SO THANKS FOR YOUR HELP AND UNDERSTANDING . THANKS AGAIN
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replied March 8th, 2007
Experienced User
i'm glad i was able to help. that's why i'm here. one day at a day is all anyone can expect. this is going to take time. please don't give it a time frame. it can take weeks or months for change. don't be fooled by the "cycle". he may slip once in awhile, but if he is serious about change he should apologize and accept blame and move on. don't let your guard down.
best of luck and best wishes.
remember, i am here to help and will talk anytime.
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replied March 9th, 2007
Experienced User
Re: Can Abusers Change?
Hello there Smile

Well.. I think- it depends on the severity, and the type of abuser he/she is. Usually.. addications are the worst. They will have to want the help. There's really nothing you can do except get an interventation with someone he or she will listen to [mom, dad, grandparent, etc.]

Physical abuser... I think anyone guy or girl that falls into this category- is very weak and pathdeic. There are many other ways you can take your frustrations out.. and hitting an innocent person, is not one of them. That's why god made weapons Twisted Evil So people that get abused have the right to use them! That, or against people that just plain diserve it [jk.]

I would have to say...even though at first I did not believe it.. until it happened to myself. Verbal is just as bad as the above two.. if not- worse. I am still trying to fix myself. I suggest therapist... if not- a local woman's clinic. Verbal abusers... are big time in denial.. even when you explain to them where they are wrong...they will simply never get it. They have been raise to know nothing more than this type of behavior. You can try to point it out to them.. but it won't make a difference..in their eyes, this is normal to them, and *you* are the outsider. Ever see the movie, "GasLight"? [ old- 1945 - 1950 ] They have it at Borders. Very good, black and white classic. This is one of the only movies like this, made- period. It is a *great* example of a verbal abuser. It's hard, because this type of abuse is not heavily talked about. But- they do have books on this topic, as well. I was surprised myself!

I hope, you get out of your bad situation.. and just like the abuser...you have to be the one to know when enough is enough. If this is a life threatening sitauation...I *highly* advise to get out now. *He* has to want to be better, and *he* has got to make the first move... this should never rest all upon the shoulders of you!

I'm here if you need a shoulder to lean on- good luck to you- and if you want, I would love to beat his (_)_) for you!!!

Idea Laughing -=Red Hots=-
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replied January 12th, 2009
..same
i know exactly how you feel mothers always find it easy to blame
the wifes or girlfriends they wouldnt want to admit they screwd there sons up
i think it be best if you left its no way to live
and it will only get worse itll never get better till he gets help
i wish you luck i no its realy hard to leave
you gotta have faith in your self
and remeber your kids get the worst of it
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replied March 18th, 2009
can abusers change?
My ex was verbally abusive- he has been put on various anti-depressants and anti-psychotics over the years and they help- a little. The fact is that his mother, uncle and one of his brothers are also "rage-aholics" as was his late grandmother and greatgrandmother (greatgramma used to whip the kids with a telephone wire). This begs the question- nature or nurture? Is this the way that this family has learned to communicate? Or is there somekind of genetic predispostion to rage?
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replied March 28th, 2009
moms
i moved with my husband across the country. as soon as we got here, he changed. started with verbal,and that agonizing mental abuse. then he moved to shoving, name calling, and finally hitting. he held me down and hit me over, and over,and over again. his mom says that i pushed him and if i leave i am not dedicated to my marriage. i WILL NOT wait around for him to hit my kids! am i wrong?
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replied March 29th, 2009
He changed
First I would say that you should not have him around you or the children at all with the hitting alone. I the verbal and mental abuse is reason enough to set bounderies and set up some tough love. As for the mom's view that is really the wrong way to think, would she be thinking the same way if you were her daughter and the husband was the inlaw?

Something changed or was buried within him, I don't know because i have had my own battles. But he will have to work through that first, reconize what he has done and take accountabilty for it. Tough love and hard work is what is ahead for him. It will not be easy and he will have to do it for himself. The damage is done, and there are no gaurenties that the relationship can be saved at this point. Saving the relationship should not be his reason for doing the hard work to change though, it should be for himself.

Protect yourself and chld first. He needs to seek help for himself.

Support groups and a wise council of trusted people would be helpful for you also in this hard time.

I think people change, for both the good and bad. People can be drug addicts and change.

Soemtimes change must be radical and rewards at the end can not be the only reason a person would fight to make the changes. Reprocutions for actions are sometimes very hard to swallow, it does not mean change is not needed.
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replied April 4th, 2009
All things are possible
Can a woman that slept around change... Though it seems unlikely the answer is yes, Can a man change again the answer is yes. the word often says once this way always that way, you know alcoholic, murderer, player. whatever. But I find all the findings that christ has and... Alll has sinned and come short of gods glory. But would I let my daughter date a murderer NO, but GOD is so much more than me! Through some of these health blogs the right questions are asked but because of formidabilty the right questions will not remedy the problem. The answer: the reason why Christ was so perfect and people had respect for him for a thousand years is not because he was the son oGOD but because being the son, he excepted persecution by his family first, then his enemies or those that knew him not. He knew when to close his mouth because he was about peace. But when he did open his mouth he opened it to provoke people against his self not against another. Christ did not provoke but people became provoked because his love and care to follow GODS command. Love GOD seek prayer from a "PROPHET" of the lord, and forgive unconditionally. regardless that you may have done that for years.
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replied June 24th, 2009
Verbally Abusive?
Im twenty years old, and my boyfriend is 25. We've been together for a year and a half, and it started off wonderful. I had never met anyone like him. We bickered but only for a few moments, and then were back together just having a good time. When we argue now however, he goes into name calling, and violent rages, where he hits himself, (burned himself with a lighter) bites his arm, breaks things, punched my car windows. Then night before my vacation he threw all my clean clothes out on the front lawn. I knew there was an anger problem, after our first huge fight, but it seems like the name calling is getting progressivly worse. He swears he will change, and always convinces me, that he wont behave that way,a nd i believe he is generally upset and regretful of his behavior. But since the last blow up, he's blown up three more times, and is currently on a work leave to a nother country, and called me in a drunk rage on Skype. I don't know how to navigate this, and any help you could offer me would be truly appreciated. Everyone tells me to leave, but I do love him.. I just dont know what to do.
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replied June 24th, 2009
reply
Hi "too young for this", no I do not believe anyone should live in an unhealthy relationship especially abuse situations. In my view and what I believe is my opinion. I may or may not make you feel like my advise is good for you but at any rate I do have an opinion and here it is...
First off as I said before neither of you should be in an abusive relationship.
Secondly as you have described, it does seem like there is a progressive anger problem going on.
Next you mentioned how there is continual apologies but change is not hapening.
Lastly you are not sure even if he can change.

You two are not married so you have room to move, which is what I would recomend if I had to. I know you feel you love this person but until you know what love realy is nothing really matters does it?

Will love stay in abuse?.. will love get enough of a circumstance or condition?.. will love overlook the situation?.. will love try its own way expecting its way is right and all else is not?.. will love seek out new ways to offer and recieve itself (love).

I think based on your circumstance, if i were you I would seek new ways to offer my love, and learn how to recieve it.

what I mean by this is: first stop saying what he does and not do is the problem but your suggestion should be how can "we" fix this problem. You might find that what initiated a blow up may be because of a slight rolling of the eyes or mabe even because him feeling a bit insecure of how you feel about him. Yet Is it right for him to act out this way? definately not. Does this mean you are wrong? No. Not by the world standard.

If you can (which you should be able to) get away from him but ask him to get some help.If you can ask if you can do some portions of the counseling together. As much as possible let family know where you are and take them to some of your meetings. COMMUNICATIONS may be key though, and always remeber what you give out is a reflection of what you will take in. be careful to always show unconditional love to your new found friends. Of course I must say that my advise usually is for people that live their lives as strugling christians. This reason is because most people do not understand why and they focus on feeling like I am telling the victim that they are wrong- be encouraged you are important to the kingdom and if someone mistreats you they need to watch out not you.

Overall your job is not to change him, but if he cant get it right to your standard then you must do what "you " feel you must do. leave. or love.
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replied July 5th, 2009
Hi all, I'm at the point where I have been in an abusive marriage for almost 3 years now and to answer the question Will He change cos he said he's going to, I'd have to answer until you see that change within your partner I wouldn't even consider taking him back! I lived in the abuse cycle for so long that in the end it got the norm for me. Abusers like to use pity and play on your emotions and cause alot of confusion. When you feel confused you know it's not a good sign of how things are. When anyone takes their anger out on you - and believe me abusers don't have anger management problems they are quite in control of that because it's only you they treat in such a way, (an anger management problem is when they blow up at anybody anywhere and don't give a damn, a domestic violence case is where they are only taking their anger out on you) you are not to blame in any shape way or form. I have just finished reading about whether abusers are aware of their behaviour and the Dr who wrote the book clearly demonstrated that they are well aware of what they are doing. Until you are in the state of 'Pyschosis' everybody is still aware of their actions! My husband who I'm now separated from now says he didnt mean to abuse me, whatever I never got an apology was only told that I deserved it. Yes I do forgive but no I won't put myself back there. I always believed his words when he told me he would change and always gave him another chance but his words never matched his actions so now I only go from what I see because my eyes won't deceive me like his lies can!Abusers are not willing to take responsibilty for what they do, they always make excuses and blame everything and everyone else as to why they do what they do. If children are involved then really you need to get out of the situation. The abuser is a grown adult and got so far in life without you and so you know he/she can take care of themselves. Until an abuser is ready to change there is nothing at all please believe me when I say that, that you can do to help him. Until he realises that he doesn't have a right to treat you that way and understands that using intimdation, threats, emotional blackmail, unreasonable force, lies, blame shifting, disrespecting boundaries, hitting, smashing things etc, he can never change. Please be aware though that they are masters at what they do and are constantly thinking ahead of how to keep you in their control because really that is what abuse is all about POWER AND CONTROL, if you have never googled that I would strongly suggest you do to help you understand the 'Abuse Cycle'. Deciding whether to stay or leave came to me making the choice from the thought 'Yes I love him but if I stay with him well the abuse comes in his package' so if you're going to stay then you know what you're in for, for my own sanity sake I had to leave, my heart had been broken and disappointment had become my new best friend.If he has become violent then he needs to face his consequences, if he is man enough to hit you then he is man enough to deal with the law. Never become silent because you are being abused. It only makes his power over you stronger. Open your mouth, report him to the police, find a shelter or support group don't let him get away with violating your trust or rights as a human and don't let him trick you into thinking that you're a bad person for doing this because you're not, he's the abuser NOT YOU and you have every right to feel safe in your own home! Anyways I could almost write a book about abusers having lived with one! Just take care to all those thinking of leaving an abusive relationship and be wise in the decision you make to stay or go! Thanks
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replied July 5th, 2009
Hi PH123, I am not going to try to change your opinion here, but I will say to the many that sees this thread, and the few that can hear.. No matter how determined your mind has become to know how to handle a thing you must first put off the old and take on a new. Does this mean leave your spouse? definately not. but it does mean the old traditional and worldly yet self ritious attitude and response from abuse victims around the world needs to be left out of the computation. "I am not wrong- or did not cause this in any way" statements seem to taunt someone that also feels they are right. How can an abuser feel they are right? well only in the mind of the individual can anyone began to understand th\
at. NOW if the question is should anyone stay that is not something that no one can directly answer, remember we are all human. You on the other hand have to wade through your faith and your love and the examples set before the foundation of the world to see if you can be strong enough to continue on until there is a change. How will you know if he will change? Wrong question when you focus on he or she I think it is crucial instead of focussing on them but first get you together. I recently had a discussion with a family member and his wife who by the way are both ministers in a church, they always make statements to eachother " I dont like you today"- yet they are quick to reassure listeners they still love them because of gods command but they just dont like them. As I and my wife dove in to seek to cause their eyes to be open on the topic, they described what the dictionary explains like to be and the fact that all we need to do was show agape love. I wanted to tye in the real gospel by the words of the gospel not as it was later interpreted "agape" which is in greek in the 1600s known as a false god named isis with the title agape theon) Whereby at any case claimin agape love we are essentially calling on the false god. As the scripture is written we are to offer and seek that "unconditional love" which there is none greater than. But then I wanted them to know that he did tell us to love our wife like he loved the church... well I dont think he loved the church and not liked it. so after about a healthy hour his wife would tell him that actually he was now saying what I said originally. Even if you can not like someone and still love them, what is your next step in growth? I said to them Jesus surrounded himself with sinners of different sorts, and called them his friends and brothers. He never implied he did not like them as you read you could only asume that he does. Therefore if you are to love your spouse you should love them without accusation but with supplication and prayer. This is what changes things. Lord change him/her? no but Lord be with me let not me be harmed lest it be for your sake, take aware spite, hatred, and abuse out of ---- (say their name allowd) and let us two together do your will. Let me, do things that allow my spouse to see my care and effection, and let them see that I am no longer accusational against them. Let me not jump to discredit, or even to recognize the many things he/she is not doing like payibg bills,finding job, going to church, but let me follow your beatitudes to stay in perfect peace. If I am to leave my spouse let me know through you many and infint ways. yet I know every one can not here and somepeopl here what they believe, I ask you to show me what to do because I want your will and not my own. in Jesus name amen.

This is my prayer to many of you and for many of you that he alone will open your ears and the hearts of many that offend his little ones so that they will be one when that day is to come.

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replied July 19th, 2009
as soon as my wife left me, I saw what i had been putting her through. I love her more for leaving me because I didn't think I had a problem. Now im in therapy and trying to make it up to her. I just don't know if she will give me a chance. So my answer is yes they can change. Now I think before I speak, and that is a goood part of the battle. Therapy helps wonders. Something happens in a abusers childhood that makes them the way they are. I was both physically and verbally abused since I was 8 Years old.I thought that was how relationships were. I now know different and engage my brain before I speak. Since then I don't go off the handle at coworkers or anyone else for that matter. I believe its all about playing what you want to say in your mind before you speak.
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replied July 22nd, 2009
Asiagurl,

I have been married to my husband for almost 15 years. We have been seperated for almost 4 years. I left because he was on drugs, he has BPD and he was abusive. He always blamed me and still does. He had to go to anger management because he hurt another lady, but denies that fact, but whatever. Anyway, he is clean from drugs now, so he says and he still blames me. He even went as far as to get a restraining order against me because he told the judge that when I do what I do, it pushes his buttons and it causes him to want to hit me.Well my husband has control issues and I have had to face that fact over the years. His other affliction has just made it worse.

Recently, he has contacted me and I have to say I Love my husband. I didn't leave because I didn't love him. I had to choose between my sanity or him. I had to choose me. My emotional state was horrible and still is. Anyway, I let him back in my life and he emotionally hurt me yet again.

What I'm trying to say and sorry it took so long to get to the point is. My husband was not only mentally abusive, but physically as well. And it took him years to come to this place that he says he is over the physical abuse.He went to anger management. However, only 15% of abusers really change. They don't do it for others. It has to be for themselves. But I have found that men who abuse learn how to twist what they have learned to fit them and they mentally abuse. Which I speak from experience is worse than getting hit.

So please before you put yourself and your children in that place go to counseling. If you don't...you'll loose yourself and your children will think it's ok. That's not good.

And Asia he probably does mean it, but he needs to really to get help and want to change. You and your children deserve to be happy. There is nothng worse then seeing a childs face after they have seen a violent outburst.
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replied July 28th, 2009
In a word - NO.
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