Sanctuary for the Abused

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Steps to Change for Abusive Persons

1. Admit fully to his history of psychological, sexual and physical abusiveness. Denial and minimizing need to stop, including discrediting your memory of what happened.

2. Acknowledge that the abuse was wrong, unconditionally. He needs to identify the justifications he used, including the ways he blamed you, and talk in detail about why his behaviors were unacceptable, without defending them.

3. Acknowledge that his behavior was a choice, not a loss of control.

4. Recognize the effects his abuse has had on you and on your children, and show empathy for those. He needs to talk IN DETAIL about the impact that his abuse has had, including fear, loss of trust, anger, etc. And he needs to do this without feeling sorry for himself or talking about how hard the experience has been for him.

5. Identify in detail his pattern of controlling behaviors and entitled attitudes. He needs to speak in detail about the day to day tactics of abuse he has used, identify his underlying beliefs and values that drove those behaviors, such as considering himself entitled to constant attention.

6. Develop respectful behaviors and attitudes to replace the abusive ones he is stopping.

7. Reevaluate his distorted image of you, replacing it with a more positive and empathic view. He has to recognize that he's focused on and exaggerated his grivances against you. He needs to compliment you and pay attention to your strengths and abilities.

8. Make amends for the damage he has done. He has to have a sense that he has a debt to you. He can start payment by being consistently kind and supportive, putting his own needs on the back burner for a couple of years, fixing what he has damaged, and cleaning up the emotional and literal messes he has caused.

9. Accept the consequences of his actions. He should stop blaming you for problems that are the result of his abuse.

10. Commit to not repeating his abusive behaviors. He should not place any conditions on his improvement - such as saying he won't call you names as long as you don't raise your voice.

11. Accept the need to give up his privileges and do so. Stop double standards, stop flirting with other women, stop taking off with his friends while you take care of the children. He also is not the only one allowed to express anger.

12. Accept that overcoming abusiveness is likely to be a life-long process. He cannot claim that his work is done by saying, "I've changed, but you haven't." or complain that he is sick of hearing about his abuse.

13. Be willing to be accountable for his actions, both past and future. He must accept feedback and criticism and be answerable for what he does and how it affects you and the children.


(the article above was written in the 'male' context; your abuser can certainly be female and these will still apply)

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shared by Barbara at 12:54 AM



Wow, great list! I often read how to know if an abusive person is changing, but this list is very clear. It really shows me too that my (almost) ex-husband, who was psychologically abusive for 20 years, is not truly changing.
I snickered at the last sentence in #11, He is not the only one allowed to be angry, yep, all those years, if I showed any kind of anger he would say to me, "see, you're the one with the anger problem!" Geesh!! :o)

12:01 PM  

This list is one of the most comprehensive that I have ever come across. Thank you.

I have come to realize that I have been married to a verbally abusive man for the past 18 years. I thought for a long time that on some level I deserved his rage-filled outbursts. The blinders have been lifted from my eyes and now I know that what I have dealt with is ABUSE! Although I was in pain due to his treatment of me, the pain of realizing that I have been abused is sometimes overwhelming. How can the person who pledged to love, honor and protect me treat me this way?
I always thought that I should stick it out because after all, marriage is difficult but I know that I shouldn't feel like I'm getting pledged in my own home by the person I am married to.
Verbal and emotional abuse is so devastating because at times it is not as obvious as physical abuse but the results are just as deadly in that it can kill your spirit.

11:42 PM  

Woman to Woman follows your blog posts and really does love this. We would like permission to repost on our blog Woman to Woman.

Your blog has published many insightful articles and I'm sure it fulfills its objective. I encourage you to keep advocating against abuse.


Woman to Woman

9:54 AM  

WomantoWoman - that's fine as long as you link back to this blog.

If you write me, via Kontactr in the left sidebar ("WRITE ME"), I can also provide you with a widget feed of this blog's daily updates for your sidebar

5:37 PM  

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