Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Has He Changed? Can He Change?


When you're involved in an abusive relationship, you get trapped by HOPE... HOPE that he will change; HOPE that you can keep the family together; HOPE that this problem can be fixed. Unfortunately, in all likelihood, nothing's going to change unless YOU change it. And that most likely means ending the relationship in order to save yourself from further abuse. Most abusers do not change. Let me repeat that. MOST ABUSERS DO NOT CHANGE.

In order to change, an abuser must FIRST realize and then admit he has a problem. Most won't ever even do this, unless it's just to appease you and manipulate you into staying. If an abuser really believes he has a problem, and truly seeks help, and works his ass off, then maybe, just maybe he'll make some changes. From everything I've read on this subject the changing process takes YEARS of hard work on the abuser's part. Most aren't willing to put in that kind of work on themselves. Why would they? Their controlling behavior gets them exactly what they want. Changing, to them, seems like giving up all control, and that's just not anything they want to do.

So here we are... the abused... hoping against hope each and every time they abuse us... that they'll "see the light" and change their ways... keeping us forever trapped by hope.

Here are a couple lists I've "borrowed" from Turning Point Services that give examples of TRUE CHANGE and examples of MANIPULATION MASKED AS CHANGE.

Positive Signs of Real Change

*He has stopped being violent or threatening to you or others
*He acknowledges that his abusive behavior is wrong
*He understands that he does not have the right to control and dominate you
*You don't feel afraid when you are with him
*He does not coerce or fore you into having sex when you don't want to
*You can express anger toward him without feeling intimidated
*He does not make you feel responsible for his anger or frustration
*He respects your opinion even if he doesn't agree with it
*He respects your right to say "no"
*You can negotiate without being humiliated and belittled by him
*You don't have to ask permission to go out, go to school, get a job, or take other independent actions
*He listens to you and respects what you have to say
*He recognizes that he is not "cured" and that changing his behavior, attitudes, and beliefs is a lifelong process
*He no longer does __________________ (fill in the blank with any behavior that used to precede his violence, manipulation, or emotional abuse)

Signs of Manipulation:

*He tries to invoke sympathy from you or your family and friends
*He is overly charming; reminds you of all the good times you've had together
*He tries to buy you back with romantic gifts, dinners, flowers, etc.
*He tries to seduce you when you're vulnerable
*He uses veiled threats - to take the kids away; to cut off financial support; to quit attending a batterer's program
*His promises to change do not match his behavior


Don't pay attention to the words he's saying. Talk is cheap. Pay attention to his actions, and listen to your gut.

No comments: