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NewBeginnings

Any stories of reformed abusers?

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NewBeginnings

Does anyone here know of any case in which an abusive partner has seen the error of their ways, sought help, and been able to reform their behaviour?

People have quote a 98% failure rate for DV abusers counselling programs, how about the other 2% ?

If they have reformed, have they done it while with or while separated from their victims?

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Buzzkitty1

I personally do not believe they can be reformed, but that's just my own opinion.

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Esme

I have to leave soon to take my son to a doctor's appt. but you asked a faceted question above. There could be different answers to:

See the error of their ways?

Seek help?

Reformed their behavior?

I'll come back later to finish my reply.

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Shalimar
See the error of their ways? Not that I've heard of

Seek help?Not with a view to actually changing - only to try to regain control and hook us back in

Reformed their behavior? Not permanently - only to try to regain control and hook us back in

Sorry to be negative, but the above is my personal experience and what I've seen in other abusive relationships.

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Sylvia

I'm extremely. utterly. completely. skeptical, too.

I'm sure it happens but it is a drop in the ocean, Kind of like those who have a

true "road to Damascus" experience.

Abusers may change their behavior somewhat (if forced...like they may lose something they don't want to lose)

but their defense mechanisms are ingrained.

The instinct for self preservation is the strongest there is...and abusers have an extra thick, sloppy dose.

That is part of what drives abusers, in my opinion, but it is so out of whack that it borders on mental illness.

They cannot let other people in their world have an identity separate and apart from them...b/c that is a threat.

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Zeemeeuw

My ex boyfriend reformed himself to a great extent, but not entirely. He was a heavy drinker and physically abusive, was married a few times. In his late 30's he hit rock bottom and got help finally, through AA. He got his act together, got married for the fifth time to the mother of one of his children from before, and was married that time for 15 years until she passed away. He was bad to her as well, but much better than in his earlier years. People who know him said he was getting nicer to her and appreciated her more in the later years. I met him a couple of years after his wife passed away. He was surrounded by decent friends, had a decent business and was an ethical businessman. He never physically threatened me or touched me in an aggressive way for the 4 years we were together. But if you ask me, he was still an abuser, just psychologically and verbally. He still thought the same thoughts, he just knew that his goose would be cooked if he touched me. And it would have been.

He told me this himself in a candid moment, that when people dropped him, when his own family let go of him and he had no one, he knew he had to do something. I can't stress the importance enough of letting them feel the consequences of their actions. That's the only way. No promise to do, just do. No... if you stay I'll go to counseling. Leave an abuser, then let them fix themselves if they can. No supporting them in their abusive ways. It just prolongs them hitting bottom and figuring out what does and what doesn't work. I think it's pretty simple for them. If I lose everything then what I'm doing is not working. If I abuse and she/he still comes back for more, then what I'm doing IS working.

Zee

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springtulip
If I lose everything then what I'm doing is not working. If I abuse and she/he still comes back for more, then what I'm doing IS working.

Zee

wow. that makes perfect sense, doesn't it? great point Zee.

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Esme

See the error of their ways?

Speaking only from personal experience, I would definitely say yes to this with a big HOWEVER. There are times that I believe (with the evidence of a degree of change to follow it) that my husband sees, acknowledges, and attempts to make amends for wrong doing. I believe when he sees, he's somewhat appalled, discouraged, and to a degree expresses a feeling of hopelessness and fear that he'll overcome ultimately. He even recognizes and acknowledges disordered thinking that fuels the wrong behavior. The problem is that this is something that takes a long committed amount of time, work, effort, and when he is actually 'in' the midst of this kind of disordered thought, he doesn't 'see' it. In that moment, he 'sees' himself more as a victim in one way or another. Like a frustrated child, he'll sometimes catch himself, angry at himself, angry at me, just frustrated. Who said growing up is fun? One redeeming grace is that when he challenges his own thinking and behavior, he'll often skewer himself with humor, and then go back at it, trying to get it right. I believe that he sees to some degree the plain 'wrongness' of it, but it can be like a light bulb whose connection is not firm and secure, and it flickers. I can't secure the connection for him. Only he can do it, and only if he wants to do it, chooses to do it, and is willing to do the work himself. Will he? I don't know.

Seek help?

Not entirely on his own. I've been the one in the past that requested or gave an ultimatum for couple's counseling (which I now advise against), or individual counseling. There are financial reasons that I understand and accept that it's not occurring now, but I'm watching... quietly. I would seek counseling for myself, but I won't suggest it to him again. I spent too many years supplying excuses, cajoling, filling in the blanks and between the lines, and feeding script that had a 'get out of jail free card' attached to it. One of my hard earned lessons is to observe behaviors as evidence of what is really the truth.

Reformed their behavior?

In the areas I've drawn my lines, yes. This involves my own boundaries, my own choices, my own identity and space. The uncomfortable aspect for me is that this (imo) is in part because of a power shift. Keep in mind that reforming behavior is not necessarily the same as changing one's heart, thoughts, beliefs etc.

Once I decided that preserving the relationship was not of greater worth than my being able to love and respect myself, the tide turned so to speak. I'm not bereft or crying and practically begging him to 'see' as during times in the past. It's not about him 'seeing' anymore, it's about what he does or doesn't do. It's not ideal and it can be lonely.

If he were to escalate (as in years past), it would be his choice, and my choice is to tolerate it and accept 'whatever' or choose to live without it/him. This could happen too. I'm pretty focused on a health issue currently, and I'm prioritizing my energy for that. Right now, we're co-parenting pretty well, and that's important to me.

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nooblette

http://forums.our-place-online.net/index.p...ic=5782&hl=

^ is a thread, and I believe Curly made a reference thread from this one.

Currently my H is "really trying". And except for a few choice arguments, he now usually admits to his distorted wrong thinking and is trying to make things better. This could just be a big "hoover" but I'm taking it and working with him on it. The argument we had the other Saturday though was still indicative of his non-changing and wanting to place the blame on me, but we're still trying to co-parent and I'm buying time peacefully until he'll move out of state with a job opportunity. (*fingers crossed that it will be sooner rather than later*)

On Sunday for example, he got really mad and threw a cookie on the bed and stormed out of the room, because our son wanted a cookie too, I was sick and I asked him to get him one? wtf? So I waited til later, I thanked him for being so good to me while I was sick (he was! actually! REALLY GREAT to me while I was sick! It was a phenomenal thing as he use to punish and get angry with me when I was sick!) But I explained that throwing the cookie was "abusive" behavior. He admitted he was wrong and didn't make any excuses.

He even stopped and surprised me with a box of Vicks cough drops this afternoon as my throat is still awful and raw and miserable.

I can see he's such a child though. He was tired, he was strained from trying to be good and take care of me, and he had let the baby fall about 20 min before that and he was angry at himself for it (baby wasn't really even hurt, just hit his head on his plastic walker, but H was angry at himself for not being there to stop it). So he was just tired, frustrated (he doesn't handle being a responsible adult very well) and threw a tantrum.

The biggest thing that has changed in my situation is that he will apologize and clean up his messes. Like when he dumped the laundry basket full of clothes the other month, he picked them up himself afterwards LOL

So maybe he's realizing he actually DOES have to take some steps to change? But more than likely he's just doing a temporary hoover. Regardless, IF abusers do change, it takes a long...long.....long.....long.....time. And like Lundy says in that blog, it should be SEVERAL MEETINGS per week, not just once. And it should be constantly on the forefront of their mind.

My H is getting quite use to the term abusive, I point it out to him all the time now, I discuss it with him, I talk about his and my coworkers. We talk about what proper kind behavior is and we discuss it with the kids.

He's being really nice to me right now and catering to my requests and I'm running with it.

Patricia Evans mentioned in one of her teaching videos that are on YouTube that she knew of a very very very few male verbal abusers who were able to change, but she's never heard of a female verbal abuser who had changed. But she also admitted that more men WERE verbal abusers than women. So in my mind that gives them a larger pool to have a tiny statistic to choose from?

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Thorium

I believe they cant change because it's pathological - they would require a brain transplant (one that contains a conscience and empathy).

Check this out. On the RHS is a clip on the MRI of a sociopath.

http://howtospotadangerousman.blogspot.com...01_archive.html

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Lily Bright

The only ones I've heard about that actually effected some change that LASTED were the ones who got a diagnosis (usually bipolar) and medication and TOOK the meds.

The others were a case where the women took on the role of MILF and accepted it.

Not a role I'll ever willingly accept.

What I HAVE seen is a WHOLE LOT of women who WANT TO BELIEVE that THEIR MAN is different from all the others...

...he isn't.

It's called SELF-DELUSION.

It is currently alive and well on the board today. In spades.

Lily

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Devil Kitty
The only ones I've heard about that actually effected some change that LASTED were the ones who got a diagnosis (usually bipolar) and medication and TOOK the meds.

The others were a case where the women took on the role of MILF and accepted it.

Not a role I'll ever willingly accept.

What I HAVE seen is a WHOLE LOT of women who WANT TO BELIEVE that THEIR MAN is different from all the others...

...he isn't.

It's called SELF-DELUSION.

It is currently alive and well on the board today. In spades.

Lily

Word...

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Sylvia
The only ones I've heard about that actually effected some change that LASTED were the ones who got a diagnosis (usually bipolar) and medication and TOOK the meds.

The others were a case where the women took on the role of MILF and accepted it.

Not a role I'll ever willingly accept.

What I HAVE seen is a WHOLE LOT of women who WANT TO BELIEVE that THEIR MAN is different from all the others...

...he isn't.

It's called SELF-DELUSION.

It is currently alive and well on the board today. In spades.

Lily

I think I was one of those women!! :blush:

I thought he was different because I thought he was a better father than most I'd read about.

I NEVER expected that he'd find a new honey months before he moved out. Others on the board suspected it and told me so..I thought for sure the answer was no...But they were right. They know him better than me after 24 years!

I didn't expect that he would drop the kids as much as he has!1 Huge shocker! OMG. :(

The part where I was most deluded was thinking I could manage in it. I could live like that...Live "above" it, so to speak. I just had to detach and take care of myself, etc etc.

I had NO idea the strain on my body and soul. HOLY turnips! I think my energy went up by 50% the FIRST day he was gone! My health is SO much better. I still cannot believe it.

It is what it is, what it is. I could not fix it. I could not change it. I REEEEEALLY should have accepted that, switched gears and said NO WAY.

Well. I can say NEVER AGAIN!

Forgive the total hi-jack! :blink:

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Curly

The only ones I know of that have changed per their partner's reports all sound very high maintenance to me. Meaning the partner expends quite a bit of energy to have her needs met and to retain personal space and the abuser requires reminding and prompting to do what is right. I think it is only a very small minority who get even that far.

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Disco

I agree with Curly on this, 110%.

& Curly, how long have you been around these Forums? 10 years, about that?

One Counselor who I saw years ago (she worked out of a local Women's Refuge, saw her for about a year periodically) told me that she had worked with abusive men in jails (and later outside of jail), for about a decade .... well, she told me to forget about X EVER changing and to give up on that little fantasy of mine PRONTO! Jus' sayin' ....

D

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argentina

This is a really interesting thread. And I am yet to be able to say whether my H is able to change of not. There is a real child-like way about his behaviours. We live separately. I am in the house with the kids. He lives in a room at a local hotel. He too can see the error of his ways and he seeking treatment through a psychologist. I think there are probably many different reasons why people abuse. When my H lived here and my S6 witnessed his abusive behaviour all the time, my S6 copied this behaviour as well. He has improved a lot since H has moved out and undergoes counselling himself. Had I allowed S6 to continue to witness abuse, I have no doubt I would have been having my son arrested as a young teen for violence towards me or his sister. So, maybe some people are born to be abusers and others are a product of their environment. Of course, this is no excuse. I know my H was criticised by his mother and not wanted (she told me herself that she wanted a girl) and I know that my H's father scared everyone in the family into doing what he wanted. I believe as a result of this my H's emotional and mentally maturity did not develop normally. It may be too late for my H to change, but I will ensure that my S6 does not suffer in the same way and repeat these patterns.

Of course this is just my opinion, but I think to determine whether someone can change we have to know why they became like this in the first place.

The important thing for the person being abused is to be strong, set boundaries, stand up for your rights and protect yourself.

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SM

I liken an abuser changing to training an animal.

Peecup often times "controls" himself. He even points it out with pride how he didn't lose his temper. But that doesn't mean that the entitlement and anger is no longer there. It just means that he realizes that he needs to try a different tactic to get what he wants. That's very different from someone who is simply calm and level headed.

Personally, that is not good enough for me. I don't want someone who has to control himself to be a decent person. I just want to be with a decent person.

SM

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Disco

Spot on the money, SM! I think that's a KEY word: "decent". I don't think anybody here (that I know of anyway) is expecting absolute perfection from a partner - I don't hear/read that anyway.

Learn to love and respect yourself more, and believe me you will soon want to leave them behind to eat your dust!

D

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moongoddess
So, maybe some people are born to be abusers and others are a product of their environment. Of course, this is no excuse. I know my H was criticised by his mother and not wanted (she told me herself that she wanted a girl) and I know that my H's father scared everyone in the family into doing what he wanted. I believe as a result of this my H's emotional and mentally maturity did not develop normally
.

they may be a product of their environment, that isn't the issue, the issue is THEY DON'T WANT TO CHANGE

i had a horrible childhood, filled with neglect, abuse, alcoholic parents, narcissistic mother......sexual abuse..

and I AM NOT ABUSIVE......

in my honest opinion:

THEY CHOOSE TO ABUSE, CAUSE IT WORKS.......

and they don't want to change

KB was/is very childlike too, his trauma's are from childhood, he even identifies that, he even goes to counseling, BUT HE has not changed.....HE STILL BLAMES EVERYONE ELSE for HIS BEHAVIOUR........

i don't think they change, i agree with curly, they are very high maintenance if they do attempt to change at all....and i do believe their motives even then, are very self centered....

MG

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Lorelei
This is a really interesting thread. And I am yet to be able to say whether my H is able to change of not.

Of course this is just my opinion, but I think to determine whether someone can change we have to know why they became like this in the first place.

The important thing for the person being abused is to be strong, set boundaries, stand up for your rights and protect yourself.

Not to be too hard on you argentina, but you are pretty early in the process of learning about abuse. I think MOST of us here spent a LOT of time trying to figure out "WHY" he does what he does. And I know I spent years trying to "make him see" that what he did was wrong...... I thought if I could only "explain" how he hurt me that he would WANT to change. It was so difficult for me to understand WHY he would be so hard headed and apparently willing to throw it all away. I also thought that he had an "anger management" problem. That was all before I learned that it had a name: ABUSE. Finding the other place was revelatory, I learned that our relationship was not "special," but pretty damned typical.

Actually, I think it's pretty common for the abuser to have had an abusive childhood, BUT it's ALSO common for the person who accepts the abuse to have had an abusive childhood. The boys model the father's behavior (abuse) usually, and the girls learn how to accomodate and try to "fix" things to keep the peace. The "abusee" behavior pattern is called co-dependence.

Anyway, to cut to the bottom line, it is less important to know WHY or HOW they are abusive. Many people have difficult time growing up. What matters is what the person DOES as an adult. And at some point the adult has to ACCEPT the responsibility for their own behavior and quit blaming it on everything else, including their "terrible childhood."

No, the problem (imo) with the abuser is not why and how they became abusive, but that they are "committed" to their abuse.

Entitled to their behavior. And yes, stunted in their emotional growth. In the opinion of some researchers, there are important stages in emotional development in early childhood, and if this development does not happen at that time, the opportunity is permanently lost.

Whether an abuser "can't" change, or "won't" change? The bottom line is that they do NOT change.

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Stormy

They ALL have reasons (ie: excuses) for their behavior. Their past, their alcohol/drug abuse, God gave them the right, YOU, their job, stress, anger problem...there are a multitude of 'excuses' why people abuse. But the bottom line is, there are NO acceptable justifications for it. Nothing excuses abuse or justifies it.

When an abuser realizes they are abusing, the only response that isn't an 'excuse', is...OMG, I'm an abuser and I must get help! Immediately! But if the response is...oh heh, I didn't know any better. Or, so are you. Or, I'm not THAT bad. Or, it's the beer or my past or my dad taught me or God made me the head or you have to help me or you made me do it or if you love me-you'll forgive me or we'll get counseling together or that's all in the past or anything that isn't...I WILL change, with or without you...then they aren't really willing and able to do the extremely hard work to change. And if someone isn't willing to make the effort (and let me tell you, it is the most difficult process they'll EVER have done), then it simply won't happen on a permanent basis.

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argentina

I am one of these people that has to understand everything and I know I am wasting too much energy thinking about all of this when really I should just be getting on with my own life. I am sure that if we did not have children and the financial committments that we have together, we probably would have gone our separate ways years ago. He sees himself as one of life's victims. But this is HIS problem, not mine.

Some years ago, I had to completely change who I was and it was no easy ride. I suffered from obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)for almost 10 years. It took 3 years to diagnose it and during that time I made the life of both my former partner and my current husband extremely difficult. I had an extreme fear of germs, washed my hands 100's of times a day, couldn't touch certain things and became distressed and anxious if an event took place that I perceived could contaminate me or someone else. It was horrendous for both me and the people who lived with me to have to carry out specific routines to try to relieve my anxiety. In fact, in hindsight I could say that I was a perpetrator of abuse myself by making others around me comply with my cleaning rituals. After I had my last child, I vowed to completely cure myself of this condition so as not to inflict it onto my children. I underwent regular cognitive therapy as well as medication.

I was finally able to come off medication in 2005 and the last 5 years (although I still have some anxiety issues) the fear of germs and compulsion to carry out washing and cleaning rituals and routines has ceased. i now clean my house like normal people. So perhaps it is this that has made me (a) believe that people can change if they really want to and (B) that although I will not tolerate his abuse (hence the reason he lives elsewhere), I am prepared to give him adequate amount of time to deal with his abusive behaviour and change the thought patterns that go along with it.

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Esme
The only ones I know of that have changed per their partner's reports all sound very high maintenance to me. Meaning the partner expends quite a bit of energy to have her needs met and to retain personal space and the abuser requires reminding and prompting to do what is right. I think it is only a very small minority who get even that far.

Yes.

btw... Curly is the only one from this community that has actually stayed in my home, so I think sometimes she might understand very well what I mean when I write about myself. She's met my husband, kids, dogs (who still miss her haha). Come to that... I still miss waking up in the morning and spending a day with Curly!

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Lily Bright
I am one of these people that has to understand everything and I know I am wasting too much energy thinking about all of this when really I should just be getting on with my own life. I am sure that if we did not have children and the financial committments that we have together, we probably would have gone our separate ways years ago. He sees himself as one of life's victims. But this is HIS problem, not mine. You are correct. His perception of himself as "victim" is his problem. The effects of his victimhood, however, are that HE CHOOSES to abuse YOU.

Some years ago, I had to completely change who I was and it was no easy ride. I suffered from obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)for almost 10 years. It took 3 years to diagnose it and during that time I made the life of both my former partner and my current husband extremely difficult. I had an extreme fear of germs, washed my hands 100's of times a day, couldn't touch certain things and became distressed and anxious if an event took place that I perceived could contaminate me or someone else. It was horrendous for both me and the people who lived with me to have to carry out specific routines to try to relieve my anxiety. In fact, in hindsight I could say that I was a perpetrator of abuse myself by making others around me comply with my cleaning rituals. After I had my last child, I vowed to completely cure myself of this condition so as not to inflict it onto my children. I underwent regular cognitive therapy as well as medication.YOU had strong motivation to seek a lasting change and a cure. When one plays the "victim" card, one has NO compunction about using/misusing people to get one's own needs met. This is the difference between lip-service and true desire to change/be well...

I was finally able to come off medication in 2005 and the last 5 years (although I still have some anxiety issues) the fear of germs and compulsion to carry out washing and cleaning rituals and routines has ceased. i now clean my house like normal people. So perhaps it is this that has made me (a) believe that people can change if they really want to and The key, as always, is REALLY WANT TO. How many abusers REALLY WANT TO LET GO OF "THE POSITION OF ULTIMATE POWER"? (B) that although I will not tolerate his abuse (hence the reason he lives elsewhere), I am prepared to give him adequate amount of time to deal with his abusive behaviour and change the thought patterns that go along with it. Ahhh... but WHAT is "adequate time to deal with his abusive behavior"? How are you going to MAKE him want to change his thought patterns? YOU CANNOT. Only he can decide that being a decent human being should trump being the all-powerful, godlike person. Good luck. I won't hold my breath. And, by the way, congratulations on your decision to be well. Your extremely hard work is commendable and laudable.

Lily

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Joyful

Hi, my husband BH is one of that 2%. It's been a long, hard process to get to where we are today. About 3 years ago I had finally had it and left. He tried the hoover and everything else but when he realized I wasn't budging until he got help he finally went to find a qualified therapist. By qualified, I mean one who understands abuse. We spent a year in therapy and for the first 3 months I'd say he made all kinds of excuses and was VERY high maintenance. I had to keep course correcting him and putting up very clear and strong boundaries. During that time I really think for him it was all about what he needed to do to keep the marriage intact. He was changing behaviors but not attitudes and those changes really only extended to me. Unless I was around he was still acting toward the kids the way he had before. Around the 6 month mark he had some realizations about how what he was doing impacted me. After that he started changing on the inside, not just the outside. Now, after 3 years I can say that I no longer have to course correct him because he is self managing and is actually learning more and more about himself and how what he does has impacted his family--his whole family. He continues to change and grow daily and it's no longer because I've done anything...it's all coming from inside of him. To be honest though, if he hadn't made that leap from changing behaviors to changing himself the marriage wouldn't have lasted more than another year. I was willing to do the work for a time, but not forever.

My first H however, is still an abuser that I don't think will ever change. He likes himself exactly how he is and thinks everyone else is the problem. His second wife left him late last year and my S19 who is now living with him is beginning to see why I/we left him. He said to me a couple of months ago "I don't think dad really likes women."

The key I believe is that the abuser has to not only recognize that there is a problem but be willing to put in the hard work. Many of them will go to therapy with you long enough to say "see, I've tried" but will not actually do anything to change. I spent 2 years in therapy with my first H and it did absolutely nothing. Others won't even go that far. If they are unwilling to do the hard work necessary to change then there is absolutely no hope of change.

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