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Duckies

Do they ever change?

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Duckies

Hi, first post. I haven't told my story yet, but I have been reading through the ones others have written. It is so very, very cathartic just knowing that others have been in similar situations and that I am not totally alone. 

I know that nobody can ever change the way that another person behaves unless that person is willing to change. I know because over three years of marriage I have asked for, begged, demanded, and now all but given up hope that my (now estranged) spouse will change their abusive ways. 

I know that it is not probable that I will ever see a change. My head tells me that I am a fool for holding out any hope of a reconciliation. My support system is universally of the position that I am better off away from that situation. But even after 9 months, the better part of a year, my heart knows that it would take so little on their part for me to return to my spouse. 

So, while I know that the best thing for me to hear from you all is a resounding 'no', I am asking instead for the most honest answer: do they ever change? Is there any hope at all? Even the slightest? 

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percolate

No they don't change.  They can often improve their behavior for a short period of time, but it's not lasting change.  They see no reason to do the hard work it takes to avoid abusive behavior because they don't view themselves as having a problem. 

Have you read "Why does he do that?"  It's an excellent description, based on research, why abusers behavior the way they do.  It also discusses the chances that they'll change. 

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Quaddie

No.

Abuse isn't just about changing their ways. It's not just a habit like quitting smoking. It's the way their very brains are wired, to the smallest degree. It's the way their minds work, intertwined throughout every facet of life and the way they navigate life and the world. Some liken it to a disorder - I believe that's true. Their psychological and mental operating system is very different from "normal." 

To rewire it entirely would take years and years of ground-up work, and like Perc said, they'd have to first understand and want to change - which they don't. They don't perceive an issue with the way they are. They won't "get it" - there's no magic words or situations or anything that can turn on the light bulb of understanding in them because that light bulb simply doesn't exist.

If they change their behavior, it's like an act. They might understand that they need to appear to be a certain way in order to avoid certain consequences - but it's still an act - it's "change" to make an appearance of change. It's fake. It's not real. Some abusers are capable of keeping up appearances for a very, very long time, so even length of time is no measure of change. And so even if they appear to be behaving non-abusively for a very long time, underneath it all their unconscious thought process is more like, "This is what I need to do in order to prevent my object-thing from leaving because I need my object-thing to do things for me."

Also, abusers don't really see or appreciate you as a unique, individual person. They objectify their targets - they are there to serve them in some way - to do things for them, for narc supply, to give them the appearance of normalcy, or any of a number of other reasons. Not because they truly value who you are as a person. 

I agree, please do read "Why Does He Do That?' by Lundy Bancroft... it's very eye-opening.

 

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Fluffyflea

No they do not!

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lizzibethak

They may change tactics and targets............but their basic, inner-workings, are flawed and they don't change.

And...............they find and use many, many targets..............they are manipulators

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Duckies

Thank you all, for your replies. Even though they are not what I longed to hear, I am not surprised, just saddened.  Thank you again for taking the time to read and respond.  

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