Abuse and Addiction: Can Abusers Change?

By Prapoorna M

Last Updated: November 27, 2021

Being Human beings, we all change in different levels of our life, as we grow older and get matured. Our habits, behaviors, addictions, though healthy or unhealthy tend to change in our course of life. When some habits or behaviors affect our relationships and get us a tag for lifetime, they should be given a thought. Most importantly, when such deeds leave us in guilt, then it is highly advisable to seek an expert help to come out of it.

Having said that, here comes an important part of witnessing a change. When a person realizes that there is something that has to be changed as immediately as possible, and that this change is highly necessary, then the determination and commitment that person shows towards changing himself/herself shows its effect. Abusing someone is one of those bad behaviors that show severe effect on the ones affected. Abusing verbally or non-verbally is a despicable behavior that is actually learned.

Unlearning these abusive behaviors is possible only when the abuser commits to give up those abusive patterns and learn the new ways of dealing. While having the capacity to change, people should feel committed to all aspects of change in order to begin that change within them.

How They Change?

Only wanting to stop is not enough. A planned and determined focus on the avoidance is also a must to experience a change. For a person to change, the thought that fosters self-improvement is recognizing that he or she can do better. Let’s throw some light on how the individual can change, and what thinking can affect his change.

When the behaviors are compared by him/her in a relationship, like the way how the abuser is behaving and the way how the partner is behaving in a situation, by identifying how their behavior is triggering problems, helps them realize the pattern. For example, the way a person responds to the anger triggered in a situation can be different on how his or her partner deals with the same situation. By controlling the anger at certain times and avoiding immediate reaction, can save some damage from happening. This realization helps the individual to identify how his anger leads him to abusing others.

A man screaming
A man screaming

The abuser who is willing to change must accept the responsibility for his/her behavior and words. He/she should stop throwing all the blame on the partner and should have remorse, that past behavior was the reason for the consequences. If the responsibility is not taken and the faults are not accepted, then all that is left are only blame, avoidance and the same negative patterns of thought. in that way, no change can ever take place.

Humble nature is the softening agent that smoothens the transition for an abuser. Sometimes, though the person wants to change, the first step in this process would be so bewildering that he cannot come to a conclusion on how to start and behave. Being humble, makes him take that first step towards accepting whatever comes without reacting immediately to it. Inculcating humbleness, allows the person to take the responsibility for the past behavior and to apologize for any misbehavior that gets repeated, even after the determination is taken.

The emotionally abusive person should replace those emotions with tolerance, kindness and sensitivity. Being in a relationship, the emotionally abusive wife or husband should be careful on how they think, speak and behave. While till then, they might have expected miracles to happen out of nowhere, now they should start thinking in a realistic and reasonable manner.

The words they might have used till then must be the triggers of anger and the source of abuse, but once they decide to change themselves, their speech should be gentle and willing to receive something. Their behavior and body language that used to be too rude and offensive should be replaced with kindness and sensitivity once they are in transition.

Abusive Relationships

The abusive partner should be consistent in his/her efforts and should be sufficiently motivated to do whatever it takes to stop the abuse. It is always important to resolve the conflicts and to stop abusive behavior when you are in a relationship. This is highly important if you have children, because the children learn from their parents and if they have abusive parents at home, they either learn being abusive or tolerating the abuse. In other words, the abusive nature of a person, affects the next generation of the abuser too.

What happens?

Many of them think to leave the relationship if they have to face an abusive partner. It is a matter of fact that false promises often keep these abusers away in a relationship. Such ones can never let you believe them. But, one should work to repair a relationship rather than replacing it. Opting for breaking up a relationship should be done only if it goes beyond any repair. Talk sincerely to your partner about the problems that are the outcomes of his/her abusive nature. It is always better to consult a professional relationship counselor, a psychologist, to solve your relationship problems.

They can assist in controlling behaviors like abuse, addiction, and other disorders. However, real accountability begins when the abusive partner acknowledges his/her abusive behavior, consistently commits to change his/her ways of approach to communication, and prioritizes the feelings of their partners and repents the abusive experiences they faced due to them. The remorse they feel after realizing the damage they caused makes them take a stand against the abusiveness they displayed till then. The greater the remorse, the stronger the willpower will be.

Are They Doing it?

Here are some hints that an Abuser is trying to change:

  • Admitting mistakes
  • Stops blaming and giving excuses
  • Recognizing abuse as a choice
  • Making amendments
  • Trying to control behavior
  • Accepting responsibilities
  • Changing their reactions for heated conversations
  • Making improvements and not demanding credit
  • Recognizing the attitudes for their behavior
  • Developing kind and respectful behavior
  • Displaying supportive behaviors
  • Not blaming partner or children or others for the consequences
  • Changing their aggressive responding nature
  • Accepting the partner’s rejection
  • Accepting that overcoming abusiveness is a long process
A mother scolding her son
A mother scolding her son

What can you do?

If you are being in an abusive relationship, please remember that it is you who needs to take care of yourself and your loved ones too. Try speaking to the person in an appealing tone about the problem and the consequences. In case, you are unable to make him or her understand, take the help of an expert. After consistent efforts, he or she will realize the problem and might start taking steps to solve it. Be patient and help the person. Initially, it will be very hard for them and takes a lot of time.

But have faith in therapy and continue the sessions. If your relationship is threatening, never hesitate to take the official help. Remember that it is your right to lead a happy, safe and secure life. Be strong on making decisive moves. In case, you need any help, you may log on to Wellness Hub and book an appointment with one of our psychologists to make things better for you.

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