Sanctuary for the Abused

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Have They Really Changed?


(For "he" also read "she" if the abuser is female)

He says "I can't change unless you do." Which means that he's trying to get you to agree to give up your rights and freedoms in exchange for him not abusing you. Also stated as "I've changed, but you aren't changing";

"I'm not the only one who needs help". He tries to get sympathy from you, family members, and friends. He is still lying to you, the children, your family or other people about what he's done. He continues to attempt to cover up what he's done to you and the children. He won't acknowledge that it was wrong. He doesn't seem sorry that he did it, he only seems sorry that he has suffered some consequences for it.


He refuses to let the subject of his abuse come up or gets angry when it does.

He won't discuss his controlling behaviors and attitudes.

He still tries to deny it, minimize it, excuse it, or justify it.

Defends his behaviors

He insists you just get past it.


He plays victim. He says "How could you do this to me/my friends/my family?"

He still blames you for all the problems.

He is overly charming, always trying to remind you of all the good times you had together and ignore the bad.

He tries to buy you back with romantic gifts, dinners, flowers. All while trying to convince you that you need to stay together to work it out.


He will not get help or He says he'll get counseling or other help, but never does. Or he does (for a SHORT period until you've calmed down) and tries to convince you that he's cured and you need to take him back now. "Now that I'm in this program, you have to be more understanding." Or "I'm learning a lot from this program".

If a man is pressuring you this way, then as soon as he gets back in, he will most likely drop the program. This is why it's so critical, if you're considering taking him back, to watch his behaviors, to talk in depth, and to give it time.

Sometimes, instead of counseling they will suddenly claim to have found God; he goes to church/temple a few times or even regularly.


He cries and begs, they particularly like to do this in a public situation so that you are embarrassed and appear to be "cold hearted".


He does things to try to sabotage your efforts to make it on your own.


He harasses or stalks (covert or overt) you.

If you ask him for space or time, he refuses to allow you to have any and continues to make contact in any way he can. Or he ignores you completely and says YOU left him all alone.

Harassment by phone calls, threats, legal frustrations, showing up at work, hanging around family.


He continues to restrict your rights. He still behaves as if he's superior.

You aren't able to express yourself and speak freely.

He still demands constant attention, won't allow you to take care of your own needs.

He still picks at you and criticizes you, and ignores your strengths and contributions to the relationship. He doesn't support your independence, still refuses to acknowledge that you have rights.

He hangs on to double standards.

He is still denying you your fair share of the marital/partner assets, money.

He puts his wants and needs above yours.


He doesn't or won't recognize the damage he's done.

He gets angry with you over the consequences you've suffered over his abuse.

He's mad or seems confused as to why you fear him, don't trust him, are hurt, and angry.

He tries to get out of the consequences by trying to convince you that something's wrong with you for allowing him to have any consequences.

He behaves as if he's above reproach.

He claims that he would never hurt you, despite that he's done many things to hurt you.

He's mad that you left, instead of recognizing your right to have done so.

He still acts like you owe him.

He's impatient or critical with you for not forgiving him immediately, for not being satisfied with the changes he may have already made, especially if he hasn't made the changes you requested, or hasn't changed but claims he has.


He's only concerned with how hard the situation is for him, and no one else. He feels sorry for himself.

He doesn't show appropriate concern for how you and your children feel about what he's done.

Abuse does more than just hurt, it is damaging, and if he doesn't show appropriate concern for the damage he's done, then he hasn't changed.


He still does things that are inappropriate for an intimate relationship. Cheating, not including you in family decisions, hoarding all the marital assets - money, property, cars, stocks, bonds, etc. and won't allow you to have access to them.


He says he can only change if you help him, he wants emotional support and forgiveness, and give up your break from him.
He says I'm changing but you can see that he's not.

He gets angry with you for not realizing how much he's changed.

He gets angry for not trusting that he's changed for good.

Abusive men often say I'm sorry then get mad if you don't immediately forget what they did, he thinks his sorry resolves the matter and it should be dropped and you should just move forward.


He pressures you into taking him back because he "can't wait forever".


He is rude about you to the children.

He threatens and tries to intimidate you. The next step of behavior if you don't stop trying to ask him to change is generally one of threats and attempts to intimidate. This will often include threats to attack family and friends, threats to kill you or "put out a contract on you." Threats that he will take the children away, get custody of them himself or see that they are taken from you; or threats to kill himself.

All signs that he has no intention of changing how he is. This is then his choice of how to live his life.

(not all of these need to present for you to worry - just ONE is enough!)

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shared by Barbara at 12:55 AM


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7 Comments:

I'm currently living through most of these right now. It's like he's reading these himself and performing them like they're things to buy on a shopping list. I have no money, no job, and health problems. He thinks he's justified in treating me and my children like crap because "I won't leave." He says that if my children and I end up homeless, it will be all my fault (completely ignoring that it would be because he threw us out).

9:45 AM  

There was actually something else that I was looking for in this. I have been free of my abuser for three years now. Since then he's abused two other women.

Because of the way communities work in my city, he ends up meeting people that I know on a fairly regular basis.It is easier for them to believe that he has changed than to believe me when I tell them what he's capable of.

I guess I was hoping for a more long term answer to this question. Does an abuser ever change, and how can you ever tell? Not in terms of, should I go back to him, but after that isn't even a question anymore.

11:47 PM  

Reading through this is confirmation of what I just now realized about my ex. Every single one of these items applies to him. He is currently in another relationship but is making pitiful attempts at trying to convince me he has changed for the better. When I separated from him due to his drug use, he was livid and used my leaving as justification to dive into another relationship. He even had the gall to tell me "when you're done, I will stop this" - referring to his current relationship and what he thought was my temporary departure.

1:00 AM  

I left my boyfriend yesterday. Today im so sore i can hardly move. Shoved into walls, pushed into the shower, slapped all in my head, hair pulled, choked, almost pushed down the stairs, slapped all over my arms, yelling and spit in my already troublesome ears, belittled, cussed at, called names, bein throwed out, told get the fuck out or ill throw u out, oh and the very petty tryin to trip me, and this is the 2nd time its happened. I left once before and come back now i'm findin myself wantin to go back and i dont know why. I love him and i want things to be good. I want him to change and be the sweet boy i used to date in middle school. Im gonna give it one last shot i just hope i dont end up dead.

8:03 PM  

Please contact your local domestic violence center. Most cities have some kind of resource for people in your position. It's very common for people who are abused to go back to an abuser-some of the terms related to this that you can look up are stockholm syndrome and trauma bonding. This person is not going to change no matter how much they sweet talk you it will happen again and it will likely escalate. Take care of yourself, it's not your fault and you deserve so much more love and respect.

9:53 PM  

Do they change in a new relationship?

7:10 AM  

It breaks my heart to read the comments on these posts and know just how many people are living through the horror of abuse on a daily basis. Abuse truly wears on the heart and soul in a way that takes much time and effort to heal.
After 8 years in an abusive relationship, I am finally closer to leaving than ever before. I filed for divorce and my first hearing is in a month. Its a struggle to move forward everyday. But if I can claw my way out of this hole, you can too. I want everyone here to know that they deserve a life of joy, peace, and happiness. You're worth it! Dream of your happy life, map out how to get there, and go! Once you reach it, for the life of you, you won't remember what was all that special about this person to begin with.

1:46 PM  

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